There were several standout performances last night, but one of them had to be the Isaacs, who came out as big winners last night. They sang "Walk Together Children" a cappella with Gene McDonald joining them!
I also enjoyed hearing from songwriters singing their own songs. There's something really incredible when you see songwriters sing their own words, even when it's the artist who typically sings it like Sheri Easter singing "Hear My Heart" or Rodney Griffin singing "It Pays to Pray." So it was great hearing Kenna West, Sue Smith and Jason Cox on "Calvary's Cry" since those you don't normally hear sing their song.
The tribute to the Easter Brothers was a great way to end the night! All in their 80s now, the Easter Brothers are still on the road. The Nelons, Isaacs, Dailey and Vincent, Daryl Freeman and Jeff and Sheri Easter all sang a medley of Easter hits. Then they brought the brothers up to present them with a special plaque and have them sing "Holding Up the Ladder" and "Thank You Lord for Your Blessings."
Like I mentioned, I love this awards because it is different. I love that Amber Nelon Thompson won for Female Vocalist and really am shocked to know that this was her first time to win an award. She is one of the most talented females in the industry. I missed her speech live, but thanks to social media I watched it later. It was so touching!
Another standout moment for me was Kathy Crabb Hannah winning the Susan Unthank Memorial Award. She pulled up all her kids and grandkids she had there. She talked about just praying that they would be able to eat in the beginning and how she has been able to watch and support all her kids in their ministries. (If you haven't check out her blog, it's definitely worth your time to read!)
Also, loved Karen Peck and New River's speech after they won for favorite album. She dedicated the award to Norman Holland. Jeff talked about how they had recorded the project soon after his pastor died and how much the songs meant to him because of that. Karen then reminded us all that our better days are ahead, not only Heaven but here on earth. She quoted Ecc. 7:10 that it's not wise to think our better days are behind us.
Karen Peck Gooch and Kelly Nelon Clark were fantastic hosts!!! There were a few moments where they had to "go live." They recovered well with the few technical issues!
Here's a list of winners -
- Male Vocalist - Mike Bowling
- Female Vocalist - Amber Nelon Thompson
- Country Song of the Year - "Voice in the Desert" by the Freemans
- Country Album of the Year - Safe... After the Storm by the Bowling Family
- Progressive Song of the Year - "Revival" by Karen Peck and New River
- Progressive Album of the Year - Classics Collection by Sisters
- Traditional Song of the Year - "Good News from Jerusalem" by Tribute Quartet
- Traditional Album of the Year - The Greatest Story by Triumphant Quartet
- Susan Unthank Memorial Award - Kathy Crabb Hannah
- Pacesetter Award - Write About Jesus (Sue Smith)
- Engineer of the Year - Kevin Ward
- Producer (Professional) of the Year - Michael Sykes
- Songwriter (Professional) of the Year - Dianne Wilkinson
- Producer (Artist) of the Year - Ben Isaacs
- Songwriter (Artist) of the Year - Becky Issacs Bowman and Sonya Isaacs Yeary
- Musician of the Year - Becky Issacs Bowman
- Special Event Project of the Year - Like Father, Like Son by James and Jeff Easter
- Live Performer of the Year - Isaacs
- Female Group of the Year - Sisters
- Mixed Group of the Year - Isaacs
- Breakthrough Artist - Sneed Family
- Male Group of the Year - Booth Brothers
- Fan Favorite Artist of the Year - Jeff and Sheri Easter
- Song of the Year - "Revival" by Karen Peck and New River
- Album of the Year - Revival by Karen Peck and New River