After a career that includes albums sales of 25 million worldwide and numerous Grammy and Dove Awards as well as other career milestones, CCM artist Amy Grant will be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on September 19th. Grant is also releasing her first live recording in 25 years. “Time Again … Amy Grant Live” hits stores on September 26th.
The Purpose Driven Life author Rick Warren, along with Christian recording artists Amy Grant, Pocket Full Of Rocks, Casting Crowns, Chris Falson, Joel Engle, Matt Papa, and Evan Wickham, are taking part in a unique evangelistic tool called The Invitation. Warren narrates segments on the audio CD that guide the listener through the steps toward becoming a born-again Christian, addressing topics like “What On Earth Am I Here For,” “We Are Separated By Sin,” and “Life Has Meaning” with a clear, simple message of salvation. The spoken segments are interspersed with Christian music. The narrator, artists, record labels, songwriters and publishers donated their time and content royalty-free in order to ensure the low retail price and mass distribution. The Invitation will be sold in boxes of 20 for $1 per CD and is also available as a free download at www.maranathamusic.com and CCLI’s site www.songtouch.com.
Floodgate artist Cool Hand Luke has been busy this summer writing and rehearsing music for their new concept record. Watch for the band to come out of hibernation to share their latest at a handful of summer festivals. Among other things the band did during the hiatus, vocalist Mark Nicks toured on behalf of Invisible Children, a non-profit organization that offers financial resources to provide health, safety and education to the children of Northern Uganda who affected by the 20-year long war. For more information, visit www.invisiblechildren.com.
For the first time, the Gospel Music Association brought its GMA Academy seminar and talent competition to Crabbfest, The Crabb Family’s annual four-day music festival in Owensboro, Kentucky. The GMA Academy is a two-day seminar and talent competition that focuses on the southern gospel market, with classes taught by industry professionals, artists and songwriters. Winners of the talent competition were: Danielle Summers (Canal Winchester, Ohio) for Southern Gospel Vocal Solo; The Boatwrights (Muscle Shoals, Alabama) for Southern Gospel Group; and “I Am Healed” by Sherry Forbes (Elizabeth City, N. Carolina) for Southern Gospel Song. The festival also featured performances by more than 30 artists, including The Crabb Family, Salvador, The Isaacs, Brian Free & Assurance, Karen Peck & New River, Russ Taff and Lynda Randle.
Harkening back to the beginnings of hip hop, when mixtapes were a way to showcase new and exciting talent, comes Beatmart’s Best of the Submissions: Volume 3. The project features more than 30 new talented Christian artists and is managed, DJed and hosted by DJ Morphiziz. Last year, Beatmart showcased the best offerings from underground and independent hip hop artists on Beatmart.com, where fans voted for the artists they believed should make the final round of the competition. The winners of the last round are featured on Best of the Submissions: Volume 3. Beatmart is already accepting submissions for its fourth mixtape, which will release in 2007. For the first time producers and beatmakers will also compete for a chance to showcase their talent. Instructions on how to enter are included in Best of the Submissions: Volume 3.
Southern California’s latest music festival, Uprising Fest, happens Saturday, September 16th at the Verizon Amphitheater in Irvine, CA. Festival organizer Tim Taber, owner of Transparent Productions, explains that while there are a lot of festivals throughout the summer music season, this one will be unique to Orange County. “These are the bands that will be creating waves in 2007,” he says. On the bill are Relient K, Mae, Copeland, Cool Hand Luke, Vedera, Tokyo Rose, Goodbye Tomorrow, One Republic, and more. For more information, visit www.uprisingfest.com.
This fall Mark Schultz and Big Daddy Weave head out on The Broken & Beautiful Tour, sponsored by World Vision. The tour kicks-off in Decatur, IL on September 29th and runs through November. Schultz is scheduled to release his newest album, Broken and Beautiful, on September 26. On the same day, Big Daddy Weave releases their new CD, Every Time I Breathe.
Word Records is releasing a compilation album, Three Wooden Crosses, on August 29. The album spotlights 17 inspirational songs from top country artists, including Randy Travis’ “Three Wooden Crosses,” Tim McGraw’s “Live Like You Were Dying,” Vince Gill’s “Go Rest High On That Mountain,” Lee Ann Womack’s “I Hope You Dance,” and Steve Wariner’s “Holes In the Floor Of Heaven.”
According to the band’s website, The Crabb Family’s Kelly Bowling and her husband Mike are expecting their third child in October.
FOX Sports Network has tapped Superchic[k]’s single “It’s On” as its theme song for its coverage of all televised women’s volleyball events.
President Bush recently designated Grammy and Dove Award-winning artist Michael W. Smith as the Vice Chair of the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation. Smith was named to the committee back in January.
Grizzly Adams Productions, Inc., producers of family friendly network television shows, is producing a TV/DVD special for i Network (formerly PAX-TV) entitled Heroes Among Us, Miracles Around Us, which looks at the heroes and miracles of September 11, 2001. Show producers contend that a greater number of miracles occurred on that day than on any other single day in history. The show will also look at the reasons we consider someone a hero. Heroes Among Us, Miracles Around Us will air in the fall.
The Gospel Music Association reports that, according to Nielsen SoundScan, while the overall music industry reports a four percent decline in album sales, sales of gospel music albums (which comprises all genres of Christian music, from rock and hip hop to pop and traditional gospel) are up for the first half of 2006 compared to the first half of 2005. As of July 2, 2006, 17,952,000 gospel music albums, including those sold via digital download, have been sold year-to-date compared to 16,085,000 albums for the same six-month time period in 2005. That represents an 11.6 percent increase in sales in a 2005 to 2006 year-to-date comparison. Legal music downloads accounted for a continually larger piece of overall gospel music sales, with 502,000 digital albums legally purchased in 2006, compared to 191,000 albums downloaded in 2005.
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