Backstreet's back … alright! 

I've been waiting a long, long time to say that again and have it mean something.  And okay, okay so it's only one Backstreet Boys member coming back, in the form of Brian Littrell, who has just inked a Christian music deal this week with Provident Label Group's Reunion Records.  Regardless, it's good to know there is still life out there on Planet Backstreet.

Littrell, who's been a Christian "since I was eight years old," will see his first solo album released sometime in 2005.  Before that, his version of "In Christ Alone" will appear on next April's "WOW #1s" album (Provident-Integrity Distribution) and will be released as a radio single.  So listen up for that.

Pictured here after a recent press conference, Littrell shared that he hopes "to reach listeners in this arena and continue to let Backstreet Boys fans know that it's okay to stand for what you believe in.  If I can do something that opens doors and benefits live in some way, I hope to be able to do that."

With ten years in the biz, multiple worldwide sold-out tours, countless accolades and more than 55 million albums sold to their credit, Backstreet Boys are currently touring Europe and are working on their own album to release next year as well through Jive Records.  So it's going to be a busy year for all things Backstreet and Brian.

Other big news this full first full week of December is the announcement of the GRAMMY Awards nominees.  In the Gospel category, some of the usual – but fully fantastic -- suspects were listed:  Steven Curtis Chapman, Fred Hammond, Third Day, The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, etc., etc.  But then there were some nice surprises, including Gotee Records' Sarah Kelly and "Take Me Away" with a nomination for "Best Rock Gospel Album."  Also Skillet got their first GRAMMY nod for "Collide" in the same category.  The 47th Annual GRAMMY Awards will air on CBS on February 13, 2005 at 8:00 p.m. E.T./P.T.  For a full listing of nominees, click here.  For those just interested in Gospel and find a mouse, here are the nominees in that field:

Best Gospel Performance
(For solo, duo, group as collaborative performances. Singles or tracks with vocal containing Gospel lyrics. All genres of Gospel music are eligible.)

The Stone
Shirley Caesar & Ann Nesby
Track from: The Fighting Temptations - Soundtrack
[Music World Music/Columbia]

Heaven Help Us All
Ray Charles & Gladys Knight
Track from: Genius Loves Company
[Concord Records]

Lay My Burden Down
Dr. John & Mavis Staples
Track from: N'awlinz Dis Dat Or D'udda
[EMI/Blue Note]

Celebrate (He Lives)
Fred Hammond
Track from: Somethin' 'Bout Love
[Verity/Zomba Label Group]

There Will Be A Light
Ben Harper & The Blind Boys Of Alabama
Track from: There Will Be A Light

Best Rock Gospel Album
(For albums containing 51% or more playing time of VOCAL tracks.)

Take Me Away
Sarah Kelly
[Gotee Records]

[Ardent Records/Lava]

Lose This Life
[ForeFront Records]