The wait is over and tonight is the OutMusic Awards ceremony. And there is a possibility that three awards could go to one local. We keep mentioning that only because, um, it’s cool. Gary Floyd is going into the night with three nods. He talked with us a bit about it here. One of them could be this award, which would be huge. But let’s look at what Floyd is up against.
Ray Boltz — True
I’ve mentioned already that Boltz could be a major contender this year. On top of being a big name already in gospel music, his coming out story still resonates. Now the bearish singer is working to appeal to both his newfound LGBT audiences and still his Christian audiences. The latter may be tough, but gay audiences have embraced Boltz big time and True is his first original album since retiring back in 2004. This has comeback written all over it.
Gary Floyd — The Gospel of Zen
Floyd has a knack for combing a pop sensibility to his spiritual songs, but here, the zen tone really does flow. In this six-song EP, Floyd delivers a delicate package of fortified songs. We reviewed the album last year and we liked it. But will the voters? Interesting that these first two nominees have a spiritual, uplifting bent to them.
Heartland Men’s Chorus — Freedom
I have mixed feelings about this album in this category, but whatever, it’s here. A small part of me thinks this could win. HMC is up for three awards and this has its own uplifting and spiritual tone. But it taps into the patriotic and historic side, much the way a Ken Burns documentary does. And those ALWAYS win.
Hunter Valentine — Lessons from the Late Night
With just seven songs on the album, Hunter Valentine might have the shortest entry. The lesbian trio clocks in at just 22 minutes on the album, which is even shorter than Floyd’s 27-minute long EP. Their major label debut left an impression on us but it was all over the place. But this nomination is a good one and breaks away from the pack of nominees with some hard-edged rock.
Rachael Sage — Delancey Street
Sage could sneak in here and she’s the one nominee who could give Boltz a run if we’re going just by name and familiarity. But this album is many things. First, it’s her ninth which shows she’s no slouch. But Delancey is also an impressive album that displays Sage at many levels and even new sounds. You can’t help but love when an artist can still be invigorating and inspired this deep into their career.
And so here are the nominees for Outstanding Album of the Year. Quite a crop, and Floyd finds himself in some very impressive company. If I went with likely winners, I’m torn between Sage and Boltz, but I wouldn’t mind Hunter Valentine somehow edging through. Truth be told, though, I’ll likely root for the home team just ’cause it would be awesome.