Perennial favorite Karen Peck & New River took home an impressive three trophies. The group was awarded Mixed Group of the Year and Album of the Year for the Grammy-nominated Pray Now. In addition, the group won its fifth consecutive and seventh career Song of the Year award for "Pray Now,” written by Karen Peck Gooch, Dave Clark and Michael Farren.
The Jim Brady Trio were triple winners as well, taking top honors in the categories of Breakthrough Artist of the Year and Traditional Song of the Year for their No. 1 hit single "Steppin’ Out In Faith,” written by Jim and Melissa Brady. Jim was also awarded Songwriter of the Year (Artist) for the third time in his career.
It was a year of threes, as many artists took home their third career AGM Awards in several categories. In addition to the aforementioned Brady, Michael English won his third Male Vocalist of the Year title, Gordon Mote took home his third Musician of the Year trophy, songwriter Kenna West won her third Songwriter of the Year (Professional) award, the Talleys were honored with a third Progressive Recording of the Year award, and engineer Kevin Ward took home a third Engineer of the Year title this year.
Additional artists and individuals who won multiple awards throughout the evening included Wilburn & Wilburn, Michael English, Wayne Haun, Kenna West and the Isaacs’ Ben Isaacs. One of the evening's most prestigious honors, the 2015 Pacesetter Award, was handed to the Heritage of Gold Reunion Tour which features Gold City, Jay Parrack and Vocal Event, the LeFevre Quartet, Steve Ladd and Wilburn & Wilburn.
The staff of AbsolutelyGospel.com and the Unthank family were proud to award the Susan Unthank Memorial Award to Kelly Nelon Clark. This award honors women who have made a resounding impact on Southern Gospel music.
The ceremony was hosted by Gordon Mote and Josh Singletary, and the evening featured show-shopping performances from the Michael English, Gold City, the Talleys, Jeff & Sheri Easter, Jim Brady Trio, the Nelons, Gordon Mote, Wilburn & Wilburn, Amber Nelon Thompson, 11th Hour, the Browders, HIGHROAD, the Williamsons and Steve Ladd.
2016 ABSOLUTELY GOSPEL MUSIC AWARD WINNERS:
Song of the Year: "Pray Now” – Karen Peck & New River (written by Dave Clark, Michael Farren, and Karen Peck Gooch)
Album of the Year: Pray Now – Karen Peck & New River (produced by Wayne Haun)
Pacesetter: Heritage of Gold Reunion Tour (featuring Gold City, Jay Parrack & Vocal Event, LeFevre Quartet, Steve Ladd, and Wilburn & Wilburn)
Breakthrough Artist of the Year: Jim Brady Trio
Male Vocalist of the Year: Michael English
Female Vocalist of the Year: Amber Nelon Thompson (The Nelons)
Male Group of the Year: Booth Brothers
Female Group of the Year: Sisters
Mixed Group of the Year: Karen Peck & New River
Songwriter of the Year (Artist): Jim Brady (Jim Brady Trio)
Songwriter of the Year (Professional): Kenna West
Producer of the Year (Artist): Ben Isaacs (The Isaacs)
Producer of the Year (Professional): Wayne Haun
Engineer of the Year: Kevin Ward
Musician of the Year: Gordon Mote
Traditional Song of the Year: (a tie) "Shout” – The Williamsons (written by Lee Black and Gina Boe)
and "Steppin’ Out In Faith” – Jim Brady Trio (written by Jim Brady and Melissa Brady)
Traditional Recording of the Year: Songs in the Key of Happy – Goodman Revival (produced by Johnny Minick and Michael Sykes)
Progressive Song of the Year: "Jesus Is in the House” – 11th Hour (written by Karen Gillespie and Rachel McCutcheon)
Progressive Recording of the Year: After All This Time – The Talleys (produced by Lauren Talley and Roger Talley)
Country Song of the Year: "Jesus Loves You” – Jeff & Sheri Easter (written by Sheri Easter and Kenna West)
Country Recording of the Year: Shoulders – Wilburn & Wilburn (produced by Ben Isaacs, Jonathan Wilburn, and Jordan Wilburn)
Special Event Project of the Year: Live at Daywind Studios – Tribute (produced by Scott Godsey)
Music Video of the Year: "Waiting For You to Get Home” – The Browders (directed by Patrick Tohill)
Fan Favorite Artist of the Year: Michael English
Susan Unthank Memorial Award: Kelly Nelon Clark
Source: AG Publicity