Wednesday, April 10, 2013

2013 Absolutely Gospel Music Awards

The 2013 Absolutely Gospel Music Awards were held Tuesday night in Smyrna, Tenn. I wasn't there, but I did get to watch most of it online. There were a couple of parts where I was trying to multitask, but I think I caught most of the high points.

I have to say that I really love that this awards show is so unique from other southern gospel awards. There's no predictability on the winners, at least not for me! And I love that, you get to see a variety of people up there accepting awards. Many mentioned last night that it was their first award to receive.

I'll hit on some stand out moments from the awards show, and then have a full list of winners at the bottom.

  • Best performance of the night - I absolutely loved Beyond the Ashes singing "Peace in the Midst of the Storm." This was my favorite track from their project, and I loved hearing them sing it semi-live. In my opinion, best of the night!
  • Best acceptance speech - Libbi Perry Stuffle was on hand to receive the Perrys' award for Traditional Album of the Year. She talked about how artists pick songs that will encourage and uplift, but little did they know how they would live out this entire album every day. She walks around Tracy's bed and sings "Through the Night." She said not one time has she given up, and she's not going to, she's just waiting for God to make His move! Definitely the most emotional speech of the night, and the artists and audience members all were standing when she was done.
  • A couple of other memorable "thank you" speeches came from Becky Isaacs Bowman for Country Song of the Year and Brian and Ricky Free for Traditional Song of the Year. Becky talked about how she was a product of healing and that's what the song "Waiting in the Water" was all about. Brian and Ricky were both up there to accept for "I Want to Be that Man." It was sweet to see the pride Brian had in his son's song and talked about how important it is for men to step up and lead their families.
  • I think it's interesting that artists don't seem to be timed when they come up for the acceptance speech. In most cases, I didn't mind. The artists have earned their chance to get up there and talk. There were a few, however, that seemed to go on for a while, but like I said, they earned it!
  • This was my first time seeing some groups with group changes. I have not seen Soul'd Out with Ian Owens, who I've been a long-time fan of, since his days with Cumberland Quartet. I think Soul'd Out is good fit for him. Hope Bowling and Troy Peach joined Mike and Kelly Bowling as the Bowling Family. I had heard that Terah had not been traveling recently, and there has been nothing official from the Bowling Family to report. I really enjoyed their performance. Hope has always been able to hold her on and prove what a talented young singer she is at an early age, and adding Troy Peach to the mix was a great decision on their part! Loved it!
  • To me the biggest surprises came in the Male and Female Vocalist categories. Bill Shivers and Kim Lord took home those honors. Very deserving on both accounts, and it was good to see them recognized when they normally aren't, at least with an award.
  • Karen Peck ended up the big winner of the night. Karen Peck and New River landed Song of the Year for "Mighty Big God" and Karen also received Album of the Year for her solo project. It was interesting to me that with both of these the Isaacs were involved. Ben Isaacs produced "How You Walk the Miles," and Sonya and Jimmy Yeary wrote "Mighty Big God." 
  • The Isaacs were also big winners not only with mixed group and country song, but they also took home awards as individuals for their writing and producing. I thought it was cute how Sonya bragged on Jimmy's songwriting achievements also in the country music industry during one acceptance speech. And Jimmy said that his mom was a lot more proud when his song that he wrote for Karen Peck went #1 than for anything he had done in country music.
  • I have to say the person who always had my attention when he was on stage was Ayden Yeary, Sonya and Jimmy's son. Most of the time when they came up to accept an award, he was with them. He is just too cute. Sonya said later that she wasn't trying to flaunt her baby or anything but her sitter canceled at the last minute. I don't think anyone minded Ayden going on stage with them each time! At other industry's award shows that might seem a little out of place, but for southern gospel, it works!
  • The hosts this year were Darryl and Chris Freeman and Jim and Melissa Brady. I must admit I loved Sonya Isaacs Yeary and Karen Peck Gooch hosting so much last year. I know that they need to change it up, but the four hosts wasn't always smooth. The Freemans did much of the first half and the Bradys the second, so there were only four on stage a couple of times. Each couple did really well, but since they took turns at the half, you almost forget there were four hosts. They apparently had some teleprompter issues at the end which proved to be pretty comical, but they all just kept pressing on!
  • I really liked the lineup of performers for the awards show. I also liked that the order of performances didn't seem to showcase certain artists. The "bigger" name groups weren't all saved toward the end. It seemed that all artists were on an equal level. I really liked that there wasn't a big distinction of artists.
  • Last but not least, I want to commend Absolutely Gospel on the quality of the online streaming. So many churches and other organizations that stream events live don't have near the quality of streaming that Absolutely Gospel was able to maintain the ENTIRE night! Major kudos!!

Absolutely Gospel Award Winners
  • Male Group of the Year - Booth Brothers
  • Female Group of the Year - Sisters
  • Mixed Group of the Year - The Isaacs
  • Breakthrough Artist of the Year - The Browders
  • Traditional Song of the Year - "Homecoming Day" (Tribute Quartet, written by Melissa Brady)
  • Traditional Album of the Year - Through the Night (The Perrys)
  • Progressive Song of the Year - "I Want to Be That Man" (Brian Free and Assurance, written by Lee Black and Ricky Free)
  • Progressive Album of the Year - An A Cappella Collection (Sisters)
  • Country Song of the Year - "Waiting in the Water" (The Isaacs, written by Becky Isaacs Bowman and Jimmy and Sonya Yeary)
  • Country Album of the Year - Eyes Wide Open (Jeff and Sheri Easter)
  • Musician of the Year - Gordon Mote
  • Best Live Performer - Booth Brothers
  • Special Event Project of the Year - Jubilee 3 (Greater Vision, Legacy Five and the Booth Brothers)
  • Engineer of the Year - Troy Peach
  • Producer Artist of the Year - Michael English
  • Producer Professional of the Year - Donna King
  • Songwriter Artist of the Year - Jim Brady
  • Songwriter Professional of the Year - Sue Smith
  • Susan Unthank Memorial Award - Donna King
  • Female Vocalist of the Year - Kim Lord
  • Male Vocalist of the Year - Bill Shivers
  • Song of the Year - "Mighty Big God" (Karen Peck and New River, written by Jimmy and Sonya Yeary)
  • Album of the Year - How You Walk the Miles (Karen Peck Gooch)
  • Pacesetter - Godsey and Associates
  • Fan Favorite Artist of the Year - Michael English
Hoping I haven't left anyone out. This list is based on my own notes and not Absolutely Gospel's official list. Will double check as soon as it's published.

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