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20th Annual Absolutely Gospel Music Award Nominees Announced

The Nelons Named Most Nominated Artist
Songwriter Kenna Turner West and Producer Wayne Haun Score Most Individual Nominations

Awards Program Celebrates 20th Anniversary in 2021

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – (March 1, 2021) – The administrators and staff of AbsolutelyGospel.com are proud to announce the nominees for the 2021 Absolutely Gospel Music Awards. As in years past, the nominees were chosen by the staff of AbsolutelyGospel.com and select media representatives. Starting on March, March 1, 2021, the fans will get a chance to vote for their favorites in several categories.

“2021 marks our 20th anniversary for the Absolutely Gospel Music Awards,” remarked AbsolutelyGospel.com President/CEO Deon Unthank. “Our awards program had humble beginnings back in 2002, to launching our first live program in 2005, to streaming it online in 2011, and even adjusting to new standards set by a global pandemic last year through a virtual presentation. 2021 brings even new challenges, but we embrace them just like every other new step we take.”

“2020 was a trying year for our awesome genre of music,” said Chris Unthank, Editor-In-Chief of AbsolutelyGospel.com. “Great music was produced despite a rough year, and we are glad to honor our music for a 20th consecutive year.”

Genre-pushing The Nelons landed the most nominations among artists for the first time this year. The popular mixed group landed a stellar 12 nominations for both group work and individual work among group members. The group landed key nominations in Song of the Year (for “Jordan”), Album of the Year (for Peace at Least), Female Vocalist of the Year (for both Autumn Nelon Clark and Amber Nelon Kistler), Fan Favorite Artist of the Year, and Mixed Group of the Year (which they won back in 2018). 

The most awarded artist in the 20 year history of the awards program, Karen Peck & New River, followed behind with an impressive 10 nominations, including Song of the Year (for “The God I Serve”), Album of the Year (for Lift His Name), and Mixed Group of the Year. Group owner and songwriter Karen Peck Gooch landed in the Female Vocalist of the Year and Songwriter of the Year (Artist) category as well. The Isaacs followed closesly behind with eight nods – also landing in Song of the Year (for “The Wilderness”), Album of the Year (for Songs For the Times), and Mixed Group of the Year.

Two artists earned six mentions for their work in 2020 – LeFevre Quartet and Triumphant Quartet.

Next in line was Tribute QuartetDown East BoysThe Old PathsJoseph Habedank, and Jim & Melissa Brady with five nominations apiece.  The PerrysThe TalleysHighRoadCollingsworth Family, and Legacy Five landed a solid four nods. 

Gold CityCrabb FamilyMaster’s VoiceThe SoundErnie Haase & Signature Sound11th HourThe Erwins, and Jordan Family Band all landed three nods. Several artists earned double nominations, including ExodusHope’s JourneyRiley Harrison ClarkGreater VisionJeff & Sheri EasterBrotherly Love (Fortune, Walker, Rogers, Isaacs)Endless HighwayWardlaw Brothers, and Michael Combs.

Two other perennial favorites, singer/songwriter Kenna Turner West and producer/songwriter Wayne Haun were the most nominated individuals this year, taking a strong 13 nominations apiece for their work this past year. West earned three separate Song of the Year nominations for her songwriting contributions (Tribute Quartet’s “Fear Not,” The Old Paths’ “I Got the Grace, He Gets the Glory,” and The Perrys’ “Never a Time”). Haun landed three separate Album of the Year nominations for his production work in 2020 (LeFevre Quartet’s Hope, Karen Peck & New River’s Lift His Name, and Ernie Haase & Signature Sound’s Something Beautiful). 

The reigning Songwriter of the Year (Professional) winner Jason Cox followed behind with eight mentions for his songwriting work in 2020, including two Song of the Year mentions.

Jeff Collins earned an impressive six nods as well. The Isaacs’ group members Ben IsaacsRebecca Isaacs Bowman, and Sonya Isaacs Yeary as well as Karen Peck Gooch, Jason Clark, and Roger Talley all landed five nominations. Scott Inman earned four individual nominations. Five people earned three nominations which were Sue C. Smith, Scott GodseyLee BlackDianne WilkinsonRebecca J. Peck, and Janice Crow.

Due to ongoing concerns regarding live performances, the winners will be announced again virtually. A date for this year’s virtual presentation will be forthcoming.

The nominees for the 2021 Absolutely Gospel Music Awards are listed below:

2021 Absolutely Gospel Music Awards Nominees

SONG OF THE YEAR:
“Amazing Amounts of Amazing Grace” – Down East Boys (B.Herrema, D.Phillips, K.Fitzwater)
“Between the Prayer & the Answer” – LeFevre Quartet (J.Crow)
“Fear Not” – Tribute Quartet (W.Haun, K.West, T.Wood)
“Going There” – Triumphant Quartet (S.Inman, L.Black)
“I Got the Grace, He Gets the Glory” – The Old Paths (K.West, J.Cox)
“Jordan” – The Nelons (J.Clark, W.Haun, J.Thompson)
“Never a Time” – The Perrys (J.Cox, K.West)
“The God I Serve” – Karen Peck & New River (R.I.Bowman, K.P.Gooch, S.I.Yeary)
“The Wilderness” – The Isaacs (S.I.Yeary, R.I.Bowman, L.Bowman)
“This Grace” – Joseph Habedank (B.Cowart, M.Farren, J.Habedank)
“Those Same Hands” – Gold City (D.Wilkinson, R.J.Peck)

ALBUM OF THE YEAR:
20/20 – Crabb Family (J.Crabb, S.Godsey)
Faithful Still – Down East Boys (J.Collins)
Hope – LeFevre Quartet (W.Haun)
Lift His Name – Karen Peck & New River (W.Haun)
Peace at Last – The Nelons (J.Clark)
Solace – Master’s Voice (J.Collins)
Something Beautiful – Ernie Haase and Signature Sound (B.Gaither, E.Haase, W.Haun)
Songs For the Times – The Isaacs (B.Isaacs)
The Music Goes On – The Talleys (R.Talley)
What Love Does – The Old Paths (R.Talley)

BREAKTHROUGH ARTIST:
The Chitans
Exodus
Hope’s Journey
Justified Quartet
The Kramers
Tim Menzies

MALE VOCALIST:
Riley Harrison Clark
Joseph Habedank
Scott Inman (Triumphant Quartet)
Jordan LeFevre (LeFevre Quartet)
Levi Mills (The Sound)
Arthur Rice (Kingdom Heirs)

FEMALE VOCALIST
Kelly Bowling (Bowling Family/Crabb Family)
Melissa Brady (Jim & Melissa Brady)
Autumn Nelon Clark (The Nelons)
Karen Peck Gooch (Karen Peck & New River)
Amber Nelon Kisler (The Nelons)
Amber Eppinette Saunders (11th Hour)

MALE GROUP
Down East Boys
LeFevre Quartet
The Old Paths
The Sound
Tribute Quartet
Triumphant Quartet

FEMALE GROUP
Bowling Sisters
Exodus
HighRoad
Hope’s Journey
Sisters
Sweetwater Revival

MIXED GROUP
11th Hour
Collingsworth Family
Jim & Melissa Brady
The Isaacs
Karen Peck & New River
The Nelons
The Perrys

SONGWRITER (ARTIST)
Lee Black (Legacy Five)
Jim Brady (Jim & Melissa Brady)
Karen Peck Gooch (Karen Peck & New River)
Rodney Griffin (Greater Vision)
Joseph Habedank
Scott Inman (Triumphant Quartet)
Becky & Sonya Isaacs (The Isaacs)

SONGWRITER (PROFESSIONAL)
Jason Cox
Janice Crow
Joel Lindsey
Rachel McCutcheon
Rebecca J. Peck
Sue C. Smith
Dianne Wilkinson
Kenna West

PRODUCER
Jason Clark (The Nelons)
Jeff Collins
Scott Godsey
Wayne Haun
Ben Isaacs (The Isaacs)
Trey Ivey
Cody McVey
Roger Talley (The Talleys)

MUSICIAN
Autumn Nelon Clark (The Nelons)
Kim Collingsworth (Collingsworth Family)
Matthew Gooch (Karen Peck & New River)
Johnny Minick (Goodman Revival)
Gordon Mote
Josh Singletary (Tribute Quartet)
Josh Townsend (Legacy Five)
Gerald Wolfe (Greater Vision)

TRADITIONAL SINGLE OF THE YEAR
“Amazing Amounts of Amazing Grace” – Down East Boys (B.Herrema, D.Phillips, K.Fitzwater)
“Between the Prayer & the Answer” – LeFevre Quartet (J.Crow)
“Fear Not” – Tribute Quartet (W.Haun, K.West, T.Wood)
“I Got the Grace, He Gets the Glory” – The Old Paths (K.West, J.Cox)
“Never a Time” – The Perrys (J.Cox, K.West)
“Those Same Hands” – Gold City (D.Wilkinson, R.J.Peck)

TRADITIONAL RECORDING OF THE YEAR
Faithful Still – Down East Boys (J.Collins)
It’s Still Good News – The Guardians (J.D.Rowsey, W.Haun)
Solace – Master’s Voice (J.Collins)
Something Beautiful – Ernie Haase and Signature Sound (B.Gaither, E.Haase, W.Haun)
What Love Does – The Old Paths (R.Talley)
Worship From Home – Collingsworth Family

PROGRESSIVE SINGLE OF THE YEAR
“Going There” – Triumphant Quartet (S.Inman, L.Black)
“Goliath” – Joseph Habedank (D.Doss, J.Habedank, S.C.Smith)
“Great God Almighty” – The Sound (D.Carr, J.Powell, M.Lee)
“I Know Him Better Now” – Jim & Melissa Brady (C.Allman, R.Griffin)
“I Know It’s Mine” – 11th Hour (A.E.Saunders, J.Cox, K.West)
“If God Pulled Back the Curtain” – The Nelons (M.Boggs, J.Cox, K.West)
“The God I Serve” – Karen Peck & New River (R.I.Bowman, K.P.Gooch, S.I.Yeary)

PROGRESSIVE RECORDING OF THE YEAR 
20/20 – Crabb Family (J.Crabb, S.Godsey)
Favorites: On Repeat – The Erwins (W.Haun)
Hope – LeFevre Quartet (W.Haun)
Lift His Name – Karen Peck & New River (W.Haun)
Oh How You Love – Riley Harrison Clark (T.Corley)
Peace at Last – The Nelons (J.Clark)
The Music Goes On – The Talleys (R.Talley)

COUNTRY/ROOTS SINGLE OF THE YEAR
“God of Second Chances” – HighRoad (K.Kapfhammer, K.West, S.Davison)
“Hallelujah Homecoming” – Wilburn & Wilburn (B.Baxter, J.Cox, K.West)
“I Will Not Be Shaken” – Gold City (J.Cox, K.West)
“Jordan” – The Nelons (J.Clark, W.Haun, J.Thompson)
“Made Right” – Karen Peck & New River (M.Farren, M.Fields, K.P.Gooch)
“Send It On Down the Nile” – Jeff & Sheri Easter (S.C.Smith, S.Easter, K.West)
“The Wilderness” – The Isaacs (S.I.Yeary, R.I.Bowman, L.Bowman)

COUNTRY/ROOTS RECORDING OF THE YEAR
Brotherly Love – Fortune, Walker, Rogers, Isaacs (B.Isaacs)
Countless – Endless Highway (J.Collins)
Little More Love – Jordan Family Band (G.Mote)
Songs For the Times – The Isaacs (B.Isaacs)
Honest – Sheri LaFontaine (M.Funderburk, S.LaFontaine)


SPECIAL EVENT PROJECT
“9 Makes Us 1” – Legacy Five & Wardlaw Brothers (M.Wardlaw)
Brotherhood: The Live Tour Edition – Ernie Haase & Signature Sound and Booth Brothers
Brotherly Love – Fortune, Walker, Rogers, Isaacs (B.Isaacs)
LIVE Like No Other – The McKameys
The Story & the Song: Hymns of Our Faith – Matt Fouch
Worship From Home – Collingsworth Family

MUSIC VIDEO OF THE YEAR
“9 Makes Us 1” – Legacy Five & Wardlaw Brothers (M.Schweinsberg)
“God of Second Chances” – HighRoad
“Hope For the World” – Jordan Family Band
“Jordan” – The Nelons
“Looks Like Jesus to Me” – The Talleys
“Nobody” – The Erwins
“Things Only God Can Do” – Master’s Voice

COUNTRY GOSPEL ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Michael Combs
Endless Highway
Chris Golden
HighRoad
The Isaacs
Jeff & Sheri Easter
Jordan Family Band
Jim Sheldon – The Positive Cowboy

FAN FAVORITE ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Brenda Denney
The Erwins
Jim & Melissa Brady
Joseph Habedank
Karen Peck & New River
Michael Combs
The Nelons
The Perrys
Three Bridges
Tribute Quartet
Triumphant Quartet

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Absolutely Gospel Music
Formed over 19 years ago by Deon & Susan Unthank originally as SoGospelNews.com, the site was birthed from an email discussion group by the same name. The SoGospelNews email discussion list was created by the Unthanks after the Singing News shut down its extremely popular discussion list. SoGospelNews started as a simple webpage listing artists, fans, individuals, etc. that were avid supporters of the newly formed SoGospelNews talk list. The site eventually took on printing news for Southern Gospel artists, and eventually took on reviewing the latest recordings from both signed and independent artists within the small genre. SoGospelNews became the most viewed Southern Gospel website on the Internet with over 4,000,000 hits per month.

The Unthank family are now involved in the site, as well as the addition of over two dozen staff writers. The website is based out of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. In April 2010, SoGospelNews changed its name to AbsolutelyGospel.com. The name change allows them to cover news items of not only Southern Gospel, but also Country Gospel, Inspirational, and Black Gospel.

On January 5, 2011, Susan Unthank passed away, leaving the website in control of Deon, their son, Chris, and their daughter Amy.