Canaan Confusion

I’m feeling a little dazed and confused. A while back, David Bruce Murray reported that newly reconstituted Canaan Records had struck a deal with the Hoppers to distribute their album The Ride. Ok. Fine, great.

Now in an unhelpfully vague “story” (really no more than a glorified photo caption), suggests that the Hoppers are full-fledged Canaan artists (hat tip, NM). Referring to Canaan’s relaunch, the GospelMusicUpdate piece has this to say:

Dave Clark, a well known industry leader and successful songwriter takes the helm of leadership with the blessings of Jim Van Hook, president of Word. Dave introduced a video presentation highlighting the past musical legacy of Canaan Records and then welcomed the Hoppers, the newest member of the Canaan family.

That last phrase would certainly seem to allude to more than a distribution deal for The Ride, and yet the way it’s treated almost as an afterthought makes you wonder. You’d think if Canaan had/has signed the Hoppers (who would be the label’s first, right?), the label would have put out a press release or something, no? Or not. I can’t even find a Canaan Records website ( Chuck Peters’ story on the Canaan relaunch refers readers to the website of Canaan’s parent company, Word Records, but I’ve trolled around there for a while and if there’s a link to a Canaan website or even a mention of Canaan’s return at, I sure can’t find it).

Indeed, unless I’ve missed something, there has yet to be any kind of official statement, release, press conference, or other formal announcement from Canaan at all (the GospelMusicUpdate piece says there was an official Canaan launch ho-down in Nashville yesterday, but that’s the first and all I’ve heard of it, which seems strange, if in fact it WAS an official lauch party … where are the press releases and photos of a grinning Dave Clark and Jim VanHook promising great things from their new venture?). And the Hoppers? Their website links to that dodgy GospelMusicUpdate “story.” And around and around we go. Serenity Now!

Are the Hoppers Canaan artists or not? Did Canaan Records forget to hire any PR people? Assuming Canaan Records’ return isn’t some figment of a collective hallucination, why is the Next Big Thing in Gospel Music not taking more control over its image in these crucial early days? Do they really want their identity to be determined by one shakily sourced news report and badly written photo blurbs?

Update: I emailed Dave Clark at Canaan about the confusion and he had this to say:

It’s been a whirlwind month of laying the groundwork for the relaunch of the Canaan label. Some of the pieces are still being put in place as we speak. I have read with interest several different unofficial things on the internet and in the press quoting various different sources. Rather than respond to the many rumors that I can’t control, we have been waiting until everything was firmly in place. Yesterday, as part of the WORD sales conference, we made the official announcement to the sales force that WORD is back in the southern gospel business with the relaunch of the Canaan label.

Clark wasn’t ready to talk about a Hoppers deal, one way or another (evidently no one told the Hoppers or Judy Nelon this). Guess we’ll have to rely on second- and third-hand stuff for a while longer, alas.

Later Update: Now that Judy Nelon press release from GospelMusicUpdate is on the SN news site trumpeting the Hoppers as Canaan’s “flagship artist.” There’s no indication who this purports to speak for. Canaan? The Hoppers? Both? Neither? Sigh. At this rate and by the time Canaan decides to say anything, they may have a roster full of artists and several album distribution deals to handle. This brings new meaning to a “hush hush” deal, nes cafe?

Even later update: I’m travelling work for so I haven’t had a chance before now to mention it, but yesterday a press release showed up in my inbox from … you guessed it, Canaan Records. The release officially announced Canaan’s comeback and the Hoppers as the first Canaan artist to be signed (still no Canaan website but I guess this is a gradual comeback). So it’s official, I guess.

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  1. David Bruce Murray wrote:

    It’s pretty obvious that Word/Canaan hasn’t quite got their website or their whole PR “act” (no pun intended) together yet.

    It really makes no sense, either, because you’d assume the huge machine that is already employed by Word could throw together a simple photo shoot and get Word’s website updated to let people know Canaan is back.

    At the rate they’re going, I’ll be happy for some re-issues of old Canaaan recordings on CD and seeing _The Ride_ appear in a Family Christian Store ad.

  2. Leebob wrote:

    I cannot imagine all of the intricate details that must come along with the development of a new venture. Add to that the rumormill that is the internet on any subject you choose and I can certainly understand the hesitation of Mr. Clark to only add to the firestorm of information.

    That having been said, for crying out loud are we not talking about a multi-million dollar publishing machine in Word? If this is the kind of backing that Dave Clark can expect from Word then he has got an uphill battle ahead of him. If Word/Canaan cannot get their ducks in a row soon, I predict that in about 2010 we will be blogging about this being one of the biggest non-undertaking and most underwhelming blunders in SG history.

    They have EVERYTHING in place(i.e. big name group The Hoppers, big name producer Dave Clark, and a big name publishing company in Word). When you do the math, something doesn’t add up as to why things aren’t a little smoother.

  3. Montana Man wrote:

    Some families have full-relationship children, some have half-brothers and half-sisters and some have step-children. If all you have is a “distribution deal” for one CD, maybe your role in the Canaan family is as a step-child, and not necessarily a full-blown recording child.

  4. JP wrote:

    It’s obvious that “The Ride” is not a Canaan project, as the Hoppers have been selling it at concerts and on the internet for months now. I’m happy to see that it will get distribution, and look forward to their next album with input from the Canaan connection. In the meantime, I’d like to hear about what other artists are being pursued in this grand resurrection of the mighty Canaan label.
    I’m wondering if the Booth Brothers recent signing with Daywind has any connection to the underwhelming Canaan rollout.
    Let the speculation begin!! (or continue … or fizzle ….. or die completely)

  5. thom wrote:

    Judy Nelon is normally accurate and “in the know” before reporting anything. this is confusing. what does Hopper have to say about the matter?

  6. quartet-man wrote:

    Well, I wonder if any of this is related to Spring Hill. Duane Allen of the Oak Ridge Boys reported yesterday that the entire staff at Spring Hill has been fired. The label will resume operations on Monday. He is doing a great job of keeping us informed on their message board at

  7. KEG wrote:

    Montanaman,(if I may call you that)what you have to say is simply YOUR oppinion,and since this is a free country i value that…however the whole thing about the “children” is somthing that really makes no sense. Word has been working on this project for almost two years,and yes people who are working in the Word offices haven’t really been exposed to the world of SOUTHERN gospel music and are unaware of its abilitys. Therefor those employees of Word aren’t quite ready for the “all out” Canaan deal and they are preparing themselves to get involved in this music. And this goes to everyone not just “STATEMAN”,Canaan is NOT a stepchild,it is somthing that is starting over…and just like anything else in life starting over needs some getting use to………………….oh and leave the Hoppers out of this,just wait you’ll see.

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