Casting Crowns scored the highest sales debut in Christian music history, selling 167,432 copies of its latest album, Until the Whole World Hears, in its first week. That put them in the top spot of the Nielsen SoundScan Contemporary Christian Album Chart and at No. 4 on Billboard's Top 200.

"I can't express how thrilled and humbled I amby what Casting Crowns has achieved this week," said Provident Music Group President and CEO Terry Hemmings in a statement."Knowing that this is simply an extension of their church ministry makes these numbers significant in so many ways. There is much to learn from the consumers' response to the music and message this band is delivering."

Patty Griffin goes gospel

Critically celebrated troubadour Patty Griffin has recorded roots music, Americana and alternative country throughout her decade-plus career. Now, after a recent tour with Emmylou Harris and Buddy Miller, Griffin is preparing to release a gospel album featuring both of those spiritually-provocative performers, along with Mike Farris, Julie Miller, and Shawn Colvin as guests. Downtown Church releases January 26, recorded without any overdubs during sessions at Nashville's The Downtown Presbyterian Church, where Griffin sang from the pulpit).

Pillar frontman pens book

Pillar leader Rob Beckley is teaming up with American Bible Society to pen Confessions, a companion book to its recent CD of the same name. Beckly is gearing the text toward teens and the most prevalent issues they're facing, such as sexual issues, self-image, and spiritual questioning. The book lands January 14 digitally on its official website, followed by a physical edition at the band's 2010 tour dates.

Creed readies first concert DVD

Following their recent reunion tour ...

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