Georgia artists top Dove Awards nominations

Although the Dove Awards ditched Atlanta to return to Nashville this year — and likely for the future — Georgia’s thriving contemporary Christian and gospel industries will be well-represented at the ceremony.

Nominees for the 44th annual Gospel Music Association Dove Awards were unveiled last week, and Atlanta transplants Chris Tomlin and Lecrae made strong showings.

Both are nominated for the prestigious artist of the year award, along with Canton-based Dove-darling Francesca Battistelli (they’ll compete with Tamela Mann and TobyMac for the honor).

Tomlin is up for song of the year with “Whom Shall I Fear (God of Angel Armies).” The song is also up for praise and worship song of the year.

Tomlin’s “Burning Lights” album, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard charts in January, will try to earn pop/contemporary album of the year, while the “Passion”-related albums “Let the Future Begin” and “White Flag” — from Christian-themed conferences, one of which attracts tens of thousands of young people to the Georgia Dome every year — will compete against each other.

Also competing are fellow Atlantans Casting Crowns, who are part of the nominated “Jesus, Firm Foundation: Hymns of Worship” project, the Jesus Culture’s “Live From New York” and “Wow Gospel 2012” — in the running for special event album of the year.

Lecrae, who earned his first Grammy in February for his “Gravity” release, will see if the album will have similar success in the rap/hip-hop album of the year category at the Doves, where he’ll compete with label mates Trip Lee (“The Good Life”) and Andy Mineo (“Heroes for Sale”), as well as KJ-52 (“Dangerous”) and Manafest (“Fighter”).

Lecrae also is nominated for rap/hip-hop song of the year with “Tell the World” as well as the aforementioned artist of the year nod. (Trip Lee is also in that song of the year category with “I’m Good,” which features Lecrae.)

Also making some noise is the David Crowder Band. Crowder, another Atlanta transplant, and company received nods for “Give Us Rest or (A Requiem Mass in C [the Happiest of All Keys])” in the rock/contemporary album of the year and recorded music packaging of the year categories.

It’s a festive year for Battistelli, who will try to add to her tally of five previous Dove Awards with her “Christmas,” nominated in the recorded music packaging and Christmas album of the year categories.

The bluegrass categories also sport Georgia representatives with the inclusion of Lincolnton’s Lizzy Long and Little Roy Lewis (billed as the Little Roy & Lizzy Show) in the bluegrass song of the year (“He Washed My Soul”) and bluegrass album of the year (“Lord in the Morning”) categories.

And, finally, Montell Jordan, who quit the R&B/rap business a few years ago to become a pastor at Victory World Church in Norcross, is showing his musical roots with “Shake Heaven,” nominated for contemporary gospel/urban album of the year.

The Dove Awards will take place Oct. 15 at Lipscomb University’s Allen Arena in Nashville. The show will be broadcast at 8 p.m. Oct. 21 on the Up television network.

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