Rock band Third Day triumphs at Christian music awards

Friday, April 27th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ The Christian music industry embraced heartland rock music at the 32nd Annual Dove Awards on Thursday, giving Atlanta band Third Day five awards including best group and the top award of best artist.

Since voting rap-alternative rock group dc Talk best artist in 1996, the Gospel Music Association has returned to more venerable pop acts for the most prestigious award. Steven Curtis Chapman and Michael W. Smith have won it the past two years.

``We're huge fans of Christian music, and to be up here .... really blows our minds,'' lead singer Mac Powell of Third Day said as he accepted the best group award.

Third Day members Powell, Tai Anderson, Mark Lee, Brad Avery and David Carr each picked up two individual awards as songwriters and producers, giving the group and its members a total of 15 trophies.

The stirring ballad ``Redeemer'' by Nicole C. Mullen proved a favorite, winning best song and pop/contemporary song. Mullen was also named best songwriter.

In other major awards, Chapman beat out Powell and three others for best male vocalist, and Nichole Nordeman won best female vocalist. The best new artist was the group Plus One.

The show at the Grand Ole Opry House showcased the wide variety of musical artists who record under the Christian banner, from the traditional gospel of Shirley Caesar to the hardcore punk of the band Pillar and the slick R&B of Mary Mary.

``It's kind of like a big family reunion, except set to music,'' said singer-songwriter Michael W. Smith, host of the show.

Third Day's other trophies were for rock recorded song for ``Sky Falls Down,'' and praise and worship album for ``Offerings: A Worship Album.'' Along with several other past winners including Sixpence None the Richer and Jars of Clay, Third Day won the award for best special event album for ``City on a Hill: Songs of Worship and Praise.''

Country singer Randy Travis won two awards stemming from his gospel album ``Inspirational Journey.'' It was named best bluegrass album, and the song ``Baptism'' won best country song. Ricky Skaggs won best bluegrass recorded song for ``Are You Afraid to Die?'' Neither was present.

The band Raze, which was sidelined by the arrest in Tulsa, Okla., of founder Ja'Marc Davis on rape and molestation charges last month, won awards for best rap/hip hop/dance song and album. The voting deadline came the day before his arrest.

``I just ask that you would continue to pray for Raze, and pray for everyone involved in the situation,'' said Greg Hamm, president of ForeFront Records, the band's label.

The show will be broadcast on cable television May 4 on WGN. A deal announced earlier to broadcast it on PAX TV fell through.

About 5,000 members of the GMA nominate and pick the winners for the Dove Awards. They are named after the bird mentioned in the Bible.