From country veterans Diamond Rio and the Oak Ridge Boys to young singer/songwriters Brandon Heath and Francesca Battistelli and Georgia worship band Casting Crowns, the diversity of styles under the gospel music umbrella were celebrated Wednesday night at the Grand Ole Opry House during the Gospel Music Association's 41st annual GMA Dove Awards.

Casting Crowns were named Artist of the Year. Heath took home his second consecutive Male Vocalist award and Battistelli, who revealed she's expecting her first child, won her first Female Vocalist honor as well as Short-Form Video for 'Free to Be Me.' Tenth Avenue North's moving ballad 'By Your Side' was named Song of the Year. Needtobreathe won three awards -- Group of the Year and Rock/Contemporary Album of the Year for 'The Outsiders' and Rock/Contemporary Song for 'Lay 'Em Down.'

Though Diamond Rio have won five Country Music Association Awards, including four Vocal Group of the Year titles, last night marked their first win at the Dove Awards. Their debut Christian album, 'The Reason,' released last fall on Word Records, was named Country Album of the Year. Backstage Rio's Marty Roe, Dana Williams, Gene Johnson and Jimmy Olander shared how excited they were to be recognized for a project that meant so much to the band.

"It is a brand new deal and we were very surprised, not by being accepted," Marty told The Boot. "We've felt that for the last two years when we've been working and writing [in the Christian music community]. We've made so many new friends, but in any industry when you first walk in the door, there are other people who are very deserving and have been here a lot longer than us. So I wasn't expecting to win, but we are very humbled and surprised and excited about it."

Jimmy adds, "We've done a lot of different projects [where] we've been thinking about album sales and single releases-not that it's not art, but it's commerce as well. This is one that came from the heart. I think we're here doing the right thing at the right time and for someone to say 'Well done,' it's great!"

The Oak Ridge Boys began their career in gospel music before exploding on the country scene in the late '70s. Last night the Oaks won their ninth Dove Award as 'A Gospel Journey,' was named Long-Form Music Video of the Year. The video was directed by Doug Stuckey and produced by Bill Gaither, Barry Jennings and Bill Carter for Gaither Television Productions/Gaither Music Group.

Though the Oaks were on tour and couldn't be there to accept the honor, Duane Allen took time to check in with the Boot and share his thoughts on the Oaks winning this latest honor. "'Gospel Journey' was a tribute to the music that frames the foundation of the Oak Ridge Boys' music," Duane said. "A huge thank you to Bill Gaither and Spring Hill Music Group for their vision of this long-form video and re-tracing our roots.We are humbled and honored beyond words."

Jason Crabb has won previous Doves as a member of the Crabb Family, but took home his first Dove as a solo artist when he netted the Country Recorded Song of the Year for this hit 'Somebody Like Me,' penned by hit country writers Neil Thrasher and Michael Boggs.

Heath, who is working on his third album, due out in September, has been writing with country songwriter Lee Thomas Miller, who has written hits for Trace Adkins, Joe Nichols and Brad Paisley. "I love the craft that comes out of this town," Heath says of the songwriting community in Nashville.

The Dove Awards were hosted by Natalie Grant and MercyMe's Bart Millard and will air Sunday night (Apr. 25) on the Gospel Music Channel at 8:00 PM ET. Dove Awards were presented in 43 categories and the televised broadcast will feature 15 performances including Amy Grant, Jason Crabb and Donald Lawrence, Tenth Avenue North, BeBe & CeCe Winans, tobyMac, and an all-star finale with Michael W. Smith, Wynonna, Jeremy Camp, Nicole C. Mullen, Lee Greenwood and others.

2010 Dove Award winners:

ARTIST OF THE YEAR

Casting Crowns

NEW ARTIST OF THE YEAR

Sidewalk Prophets

SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR

Jennie Lee Riddle

SONG OF THE YEAR (song title; writer; publisher - award goes to the writer and publisher)

'By Your Side'; Mike Donehey, Philip LaRue, Jason Ingram; Essential Publishing

MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR

Brandon Heath

FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR

Francesca Battistelli

GROUP OF THE YEAR

NEEDTOBREATHE

PRODUCER OF THE YEAR

Jason Ingram, Rusty Varenkamp

Dove Awards in Recorded Song Categories are given to the Artist and Songwriter, if other than the artist.

Song; album; artist; writer; label

RAP/HIP HOP RECORDED SONG

'Movin'; Ordinary Dreamers; Group 1 Crew; Group 1 Crew, Jeremy James, Byron Chambers, Christopher Stevens; Fervent Records

ROCK RECORDED SONG

'Mess Of Me'; Hello Hurricane; Switchfoot; Jonathan Foreman, Tim Foreman; Credential Recordings

ROCK/CONTEMPORARY RECORDED SONG

'Lay 'Em Down'; The Outsiders; NEEDTOBREATHE; Bear Rinehart, Bo Rinehart; Atlantic Records

POP/CONTEMPORARY RECORDED SONG

'City on our Knees'; Tonight; tobyMac; Toby McKeehan, Jamie Moore, Cary Barlowe; Forefront Records

INSPIRATIONAL RECORDED SONG

'The Only Hope'; Bebo Norman; Bebo Norman; Bebo Norman; BEC Recordings

SOUTHERN GOSPEL RECORDED SONG

'Born to Climb'; Expecting Good Things; Jeff & Sheri Easter; Wayne Haun, Joel Lindsey; She Loves Music

BLUEGRASS RECORDED SONG

'When We Fly'; Breaking Like Dawn; Little Roy Lewis & Lizzy Long; Joel Lindsay, Wayne Haun,

Ty Herndon

COUNTRY RECORDED SONG

'Somebody Like Me'; Jason Crabb; Jason Crabb; Neil Thrasher, Michael Boggs; Spring Hill Music Group

URBAN RECORDED SONG (tie)

'Close to You'; Still; BeBe & CeCe Winans; BeBe Winans; B & C Records, Malaco

and

'Just Wanna Say'; The Power of One; Israel Houghton; Aaron Lindsey, Israel Houghton, Tommy Sims; Integrity

TRADITIONAL GOSPEL RECORDED SONG

"Justified"; Smokie Norful Live; Smokie Norful; Smokie Norful; EMI Gospel, TreMyles Music

CONTEMPORARY GOSPEL RECORDED SONG

"The Power of One"; The Power of One; Israel Houghton; Israel Houghton, Ricardo Sanchez; Intergrity Music

WORSHIP SONG (award given to writer and publisher)

"Revelation Song"; Jennie Lee Riddle, Gateway Create Publishing, Integrity's Praise Music

Dove Awards in Album Categories are given to the Artist and Producer, if other than the artist.

Album; artist; producer; label

RAP/HIP HOP ALBUM (album; artist; producer; label)

Five Two Television; KJ-52; KJ-52; BEC Recordings

ROCK ALBUM

Innocence and Instinct; Red; Rob Graves; Essential

ROCK/CONTEMPORARY ALBUM

The Outsiders; NEEDTOBREATHE; Rick Beato, NEEDTOBREATHE, Jim Scott, John Alagia; Atlantic Records

POP/CONTEMPORARY ALBUM

The Long Fall Back To Earth; Jars of Clay, Ron Aniello, Essential Records, Gray Matters

INSPIRATIONAL ALBUM

Fearless; Phillips, Craig & Dean; Bernie Herms; INO Records

SOUTHERN GOSPEL ALBUM

Gaither Vocal Band Reunited; Gaither Vocal Band; Bill Gaither, David Phelps; Gaither Music Group

BLUEGRASS ALBUM

The Isaacs...Naturally; The Isaacs; Bill Gaither, Ben Isaacs; Gaither Music Group

COUNTRY ALBUM

The Reason; Diamond Rio; Michael D. Clute, Jimmy Olander; Word Records

TRADITIONAL GOSPEL ALBUM

Shout! Live; Mike Farris & The Roseland Rhythm Revue; Mike Farris, Joe McMahan; INO Records

CONTEMPORARY GOSPEL ALBUM

Love Unstoppable; Fred Hammond; Fred Hammond; Verity

INSTRUMENTAL ALBUM

Joy Comes In The Morning; Stan Whitmire; Stan Whitmire; Spring Hill Music Group

CHILDREN'S MUSIC ALBUM

Veggie Tales: Here I Am To Worship; Featuring Natalie Grant & Aaron Shust; Steven V. Taylor; Big Idea

SPANISH LANGUAGE ALBUM

Le Canto; Kari Jobe; Ed Cash; Integrity Music Latin

SPECIAL EVENT ALBUM

Glory Revealed II: The Word of God In Worship; Mac Powell, Shane Everett, Jonathan Shelton, Brian Littrell, Trevor Morgan, Mark Hall, Jason Crabb, Bear Rinehart, Matt Maher, Amy Grant, Ed Cash, Geoff Moore, Natalie Grant, Laura Story, Brandon Heath, Mike Donehey, Aaron Shust, Shawn Lewis, Sara Evans, Bethany Dicks Olds, Shane & Shane, Bethany Dillon, Kari Jobe; Mac Powell, David Nasser; Reunion

CHRISTMAS ALBUM

Christ Has Come; Big Daddy Weave; Jeremy Redmond; Fervent Records

PRAISE & WORSHIP ALBUM

Church Music; David Crowder*Band; David Crowder*Band; Sparrow Records/sixsteps Records

Dove Awards in Musical Categories are given to the creator

title; creator; publisher

MUSICAL

A Baby Changes Everything; Deborah Craig-Claar, David T. Clydesdale; Word Music

YOUTH/CHILDREN'S MUSICAL

Christmas Hang-ups; Dennis and Nan Allen; Brentwood-Benson Music Publishing

CHORAL COLLECTION

Travis Cottrell-Jesus Saves Live; Travis Cottrell; Brentwood-Benson Music Publishing

RECORDED MUSIC PACKAGING (product; art director; graphic artist; illustrator/photographer; label)

Long Fall Back To Earth (Limited Edition); Jars of Clay; Tim Parker, Jars of Clay; Tim Parker; Kharyn Hill; Gray Matters, Essential

SHORT FORM MUSIC VIDEO (title; artist; director; producer; production company; label)

"Free To Be Me"; Francesca Battistelli; Andy & John Erwin; Dan Atchison; Alabama Production Group; Fervent Records

LONG FORM MUSIC VIDEO (title; artist; director; producer; production company; label)

A Gospel Journey; Oak Ridge Boys; Doug Stuckey; Bill Gaither, Barry Jennings, Bill Carter; Gaither Television Productions; Gaither Music Group