Thursday, July 28, 2005

The Pearls Are In!

Last Tuesday night, the FCMA hosted their annual Pearl Awards. These awards could essentially be called the “Mormon Grammies”, because they’re set up and awarded pretty much the same way. Recordings and CD’s are submitted according to their qualifying rules, and then certain members of the FCMA (Faith Centered Music Association) who have achieved a certain measurable status in the industry vote to determine the best of the best of LDS music.

Then they throw a big gala formal party to preset the awards. In the past, they’ve video’ed the event and it’s been broadcast on either KJZZ or KSL. I usually make a big effort to get there, because it’s great fun, and a wonderful place to network. I mean, anyone who’s anyone in LDS music is usually there. It really is a great time.

Here’s a list of this year’s winners. My commentary is below:

SACRED RECORDING

Be Still My Soul
Album: Standing Room Only
Artist: Vocal Point
Arranger: Michael R. Hicks
Producer: Bob Ahlander

INSPIRATIONAL RECORDING

I Was Made
Album: Stand in the Light—EFY 2004
Artist: Michael Webb
Songwriter: Michael Webb
Producer: Tyler Castleton & Staci Peters

CONTEMPORARY RECORDING

The Light
Album: Stand in the Light—EFY 2004
Artist: April Meservy
Songwriter: Michelle Tumes
Producer: Tyler Castleton & Staci Peters

SACRED/CLASSICAL INSTRUMENTAL RECORDING

If You Could Hie to Kolob
Album: The Light Divine
Artist: Jenny Oaks Baker
Arranger: Kurt Bestor
Producer: Kenny Hodges

INSPIRATIONAL/CONTEMPORARY INSTRUMENTAL RECORDING

The Handcart Song
Album: Bring Them In; Celebrating the Spirit of Trek
Artist: Michael Dowdle
Arranger: Michael Dowdle
Producer: Michael Dowdle

HOLIDAY RECORDING

His Endless Gift of Love
Album: Night of All Nights
Artist: Jessie Clark-Funk
Songwriter: Jeannine Lasky & Masa Fukuda
Producer: Greg Hansen

SACRED ALBUM

In Thy Hands
Artist: Tammy Simister Robinson
Producers: Greg Hansen & Tammy Simister Robinson

INSPIRATIONAL ALBUM

The Sum of All Grace
Artist: Mindy Gledhill
Producer: Kenneth Cope

CONTEMPORARY ALBUM

Railroad Blessing
Artist: Sam Payne
Producers: Steve Lemmon and Sam Payne

SACRED/CLASSICAL INSTRUMENTAL ALBUM

Twenty-Five Beloved Hymns of Prayer & Faith
Artist: Michael Dowdle
Producers: Michael Dowdle

INSPIRATIONAL/CONTEMPORARY ALBUM

Janice Kapp Perry’s Celtic Variations
Creator: Janice Kapp Perry
Producer: John Perry and Greg Hansen

THEMED OR CONCEPT ALBUM

Emma’s Hymns
Artist: Mark Geslison & Geoff Groberg
Producers: Mark Geslison & Geoff Groberg

PRESENTATION OR SOUNDTRACK ALBUM

The Work & The Glory Soundtrack
Artist: Sam Cardon
Producer: Sam Cardon

HOLIDAY ALBUM

O Come Little Children
Artist: Enoch Train & The International Children’s Choir
Producer: Clive Romney & Enoch Train

COMPILATION ALBUM

Echoes of the Sabbath
Record Label: Tantara Records

MALE RECORDING ARTIST

Greg Simpson

FEMALE RECORDING ARTIST

Tammy Simister Robinson

INSTRUMENTAL RECORDING ARTIST

Michael Dowdle

GROUP RECORDING ARTIST

Vocal Point

NEW RECORDING ARTIST

Mindy Gledhill

PRODUCER

Greg Hansen

SONGWRITER

Tammy Simister Robinson

PERFORMING ARTIST

Vocal Point

ARRANGER

Michael Dowdle

STUDIO MUSICIAN

Rich Dixon

STUDIO VOCALIST

April Meservy

STUDIO ENGINEER

Steve LeRud

BEST ALBUM DESIGN

Return to Nauvoo (Cindy Ferguson)

RADIO SHOW

Steven Kapp Perry (FM-100)

RECORD LABEL

Sounds of Zion

RETAIL MANAGER

Anette Dahl
(Jorgensen’s — Roy, Utah)


My comments:

I was really pleased to see a couple of things in the winners list. One was the diversity. Often in years past, an artist will come forward and sweep the awards. They’re kind of the popular “flavor of the year” and just rack them up. That didn’t happen this year.

Another thing is that there are a lot of new names in the winners list, too. Let’s face it, the LDS market is still relatively small, and so there aren’t that many names to choose from. So, often in years past, the perennial favorites win yet more awards. Didn’t happen so much this year. Sure, Greg Hansen won best producer, and he and Tyler Castleton pretty much trade that award back and forth year after year. They deserve it, though. They’re good, and there’s not that many other people putting out as much work as they do.

Kenneth Cope, while producing a number of winners, wasn’t the winner himself as much this year, it seems.

I was excited to see “Railroad Blessing” win for Contemporary Album. Anyone who reads my blog here knows how much I love Sam’s music, and what a nice guy he is, too. I hope “Coming Just to Go” does well next year, as it was too new to qualify for this years awards. Another one I was cheering for in this category was Cheri Magill’s “I’m Ready”. Not many rockers win at the Pearls…

But! Greg Simpson, LDS music’s best kept secret, FINALLY won an award! Woo HOOOO! Go Greg! He won for Male Recording Artist. He’s been a nominated finalist for more awards than I care to count, but it always got stolen from him. If it had been up to me, He’d have won them all. But then, I don’t even qualify to vote yet!

The funny thing about the Pearls is that, in some ways, it’s a tempest in a teapot. It’s really quite an honor to be nominated for one or to win one, but in the big scheme of things, it doesn’t make much difference. The typical LDS church member shopping in a Deseret Book catalog probably doesn’t know what it means when the ad says “Pearl Award Winner”. It doesn’t mean a lot of additional CD sales, or more or bigger concerts. Really, it’s just a big pat on the back from other people who are trying to do the same thing you are, sharing their testimonies in song.

MRKH
Mark Hansen
http://markhansenmusic.com

PS--And another shameless plug: There's a new song over at my site, called "Where's My Soul?" It's got a very very unique sound, so check it out!

5 comments:

  1. Why should Greg Hansen and Tyler Castleton trade off winning the award each year? Why can't the FCMA recognize other talent besides those two?

    Why would Greg Simpson win Male Recording Artist? He hasn't released an album or even released a single in several years. I think Greg Simpson is an amazing artist but he didn't do anything during the 2005 Pearl Awards "Fiscal Year".

    The reason the typical shopper at Deseret Book doesn't know what a Pearl Award is, is because the FCMA does a lousy job of promoting itself. They schedule events and announce them a week or two before the event. They don't do anything to create a buzz either throughout the bloggernacle or through traditional means. They cancel or move dates around within just weeks of some events.

    I think the FCMA needs to be reorganized with a fresh new approach including the replacement of Jeff Simpson. He's a great guy but it appears that running the FCMA is an after thought to him. I understand it is all volunteer work but there are plenty of other volunteers who would be willing to take the project more seriously.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Clay Whipkey7/29/05, 2:01 PM

    Mark,
    I have to disagree about the diversity thing. The winners list might have included a few new names, but they are making the same music as always. Now, there is a place for that music, and I'm sure they do it very well (I sampled Tammy Simister Robinson's album and it was well done although not appealing to me).

    As a related tangent, you mentioned that not many rockers win at the Pearls. Have any "rockers" won ever? I'm actually curious if there is an archive of past winners to check.

    I personally feel that the Pearls are hardly a whisper of the "Mormon Grammy's" because the Grammy's cover such a wide spectrum of musical styles. THe comparison is inherently unfair though, so to level the field a bit let's measure them up to the more logical counterpart, the Dove Awards (The Gospel Music Association). The Doves recognize all kinds of musicfrom those they have identified as "their people", i.e. mainstream Christians. The Pearls are only a reflection of what is currently wrong with LDS music. There is a message sent that all that is acceptable as "faith-centered music" is what falls into the taste of caucasian Western-American mormons.

    Another difficult thing about the FCMA, as you stated Mark, is that in order to qualify for a vote, you have to achieve a measurable status (i.e. have relatively extensive work experience in the industry). The problem with that is the industry is so small and young that it is extremely hard to gain the requisite experience without doing the same stuff that's already being done. There is no market research for anyone to judge if uncharted genres would be successful in the LDS market, so they just don't go there. So its a cycle that seems endless. Every new voter will only qualify for a vote because they think about music the same way the rest of the FCMA does.

    Rant over.

    cheers,
    Clay

    ReplyDelete
  3. As a note of positivity, I would like to say I am delighted that Greg Simpson won for Male Artist.

    I love love love him. His latest album is my most favorite, even of my non-lds CDs.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yeah, Greg's one of my all-time favorites, too. I listen to "Unspoken" a lot. I'm not sure if I like it better than "Seven Wonders", but I listen to it more... :-)

    I was also glad to see him win.

    Technically, the eligibility period for a recording is two calendar years (Jan to December) prior to the award presentation. So, for example, my CD, "One United Generation", having been released in March of '05, will be eligible for the '06 and '07 awards.

    Not that it'll win... :-)

    Also, I'm in the process of trying to track down info on all the past winners. I think it'll be interesting to see what the trends are. It's not easy to find, though...

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ya know Mark, I just don't know what to say! What a new world of music you have opened to me.

    Thank you !

    ReplyDelete

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