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Chris Tomlin’s job is giving praise, but recently he’s also been on the receiving end.

The worship singer is the Gospel Music Association’s artist of the year and male vocalist of the year. And his latest disc, “See The Morning,” has caught the Grammy folks’ attention.

It’s a well-deserved nod, even if the Recording Academy seems to be playing catch-up after ignoring Tomlin’s phenomenal “Arriving” in 2004.

“See The Morning” has earned Grammy nominations for Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album and for Best Gospel Performance for the No. 1 single “Made to Worship.”

In the album category, Tomlin has some stiff competition from Leeland’s impressive debut “Sound of Melodies,” as well as excellent discs from veterans MercyMe and Third Day and newcomer Ayiesha Woods.

In the performance category, he’s up against Yolanda Adams, Israel and New Breed, Donald Lawrence and Tye Tribbett. The Grammys will be presented Feb. 11. “See The Morning” opens with “How Can I Keep From Singing,” a sort of rock-anthem-lite that depicts a love of God so great that it bursts forth with song.

It’s a joyful track that’s certain to find its way into contemporary worship services. The tempo slides only a bit down the scale for the hit “Made To Worship,” which describes how we were created to worship God.

The pace picks up again for the assertive rocker “Let God Arise,” which is certain to bring congregations and concert-goers to their feet. Other tracks offer a fine display of Tomlin’s range, from the mellower — but no less intense — “Everlasting God” and “Uncreated On” to the upbeat “Awesome Is the Lord Most High.” The disc wraps up with a touching piano rendition of the hymn “Amazing Grace.”

Tomlin has a knack for crafting songs that translate well into congregational worship. “See The Morning” is likely to add several titles to the list of songs sung each Sunday.

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Praiseworthy year

In 2006, Christian and gospel music bucked the music industry’s losing trend.

Overall, the industry saw a sales decrease of 1.2 percent, according to Nielsen SoundScan’s count of all albums and “digital track equivalent albums.”

Digital track equivalency, which counts 10 single downloads as the equivalent of one CD, is the only thing that kept the numbers from looking even worse.

On the other hand, Christian music sales increased by 1.5 percent to 40.2 million units. Even if digital equivalency isn’t counted, the genre saw a 1.3 percent sales increase.

The only other genres to post gains were Latin, classical and soundtracks.

The Christian/gospel category is the largest of the four, accounting for 6.75 percent of all album sales, according to the Gospel Music Association.

The numbers were helped by a major crossover hit — “Precious Memories,” by country star Alan Jackson, which sold almost 1.3 million copies.

No. 2 was the hard-rocking self-titled debut from Flyleaf, which sold almost 490,000 copies.

Today’s Praise is a roundup of news and reviews from the contemporary Christian music industry.

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