Casting Crowns won group of the year and newcomer Aaron Shust took home the song of the year honors Wednesday during the Gospel Music Association’s Dove Awards.
“I’m very grateful to serve in the ministry I serve in. It’s the same people I served with before any of this ever happened,” Casting Crowns frontman Mark Hall said as he stood on stage with the other members.
Shust won for “My Savior, My God.” It was downloaded more than 85,000 times on iTunes and maintained the No. 1 spot on the service’s “Inspirational” Chart for more than three months, according to the singer’s Web site.
“Wow. There’s so much that goes into the making of a song, the making of this song,” said Shust, who was nominated for five awards. “There are so many people that come along. It’s not just me.”
Earlier in the evening, Alan Jackson’s gospel album “Precious Memories” won country album of the year. Jackson originally recorded the songs as a Christmas gift for his mother.
Ed Cash won producer of the year. Cash has worked with top nominee Chris Tomlin and others. “God has given me a platform and blessed me with a lot of success,” Cash said.
Tomlin, last year’s artist of the year, led this year with nine nominations.
The 34-year-old praise and worship leader from Texas was again up for artist of the year. He’s also nominated for: male vocalist, song of the year and pop/contemporary song of the year for “Made to Worship”; praise and worship album and pop/contemporary album for “See the Morning”; and special event album for “Passion: Everything Glorious.”
He also received two nominations in the worship song of the year category for “Made to Worship” and “Holy is the Lord.”
Tomlin, from Grand Saline, Texas, was the leading nominee last year and took home five trophies. He is the most-often sung contemporary Christian artist in the country, according to Christian Copyright Licensing International.
The other leading nominees were Jars of Clay with six and The Crabb Family with five. The group Leeland also had five.
Backstreet Boy and contemporary Christian artist Brian Littrell co-hosted the show with singers Natalie Grant and Donnie McClurkin.
The awards, held at the Grand Ole Opry House, will be televised in national syndication in May.