February 22, 2022

21st Annual Absolutely Gospel Music Award Nominees Announced


Joseph Habedank and Kenna Turner West Lead Artist Nominations; Wayne Haun Named Most Nominated Industry Professional

The administrators and staff of AbsolutelyGospel.com are proud to announce the nominees for the 2022 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 1, 2022, the fans will get a chance to vote for their favorites in several categories.

Amy Marie Zika, acting-president of AbsolutelyGospel.com said, "These last two years have been some of the hardest our industry has ever had to face, and with the passing of our father and site-founder Deon Unthank, the end of 2021 was even harder for our family and staff. We know that Deon would want us to continue and honor the artists and industry professionals who supported him and our family through this trial."

"This awards program was established over 20 years ago by our parents,” said Chris Unthank, Editor-In-Chief of AbsolutelyGospel.com. "We feel like as in year's past, the staff nailed the nominees. This isn't about favorites, but rather the artists and professionals who have made the biggest impact in our genre."

The reigning Male Vocalist of the Year Joseph Habedank landed the most nominations among artists this year. The popular soloist landed a stellar 12 nominations for both his recording and songwriting prowess in 2021. He landed key nominations in Song of the Year (for "Religion Isn't Working”), Album of the Year (for Change Is Coming), Male Vocalist of the Year, Fan Favorite Artist of the Year, and Songwriter of the Year (Artist). 

Newly minted recording artist Kenna Turner West followed closely behind with 11 nominations - including Breakthrough Artist of the Year, Songwriter of the Year (Artist), and Progressive Recording of the Year (for her debut album A Reason for Hope). She received an impressive eight additional nominations for her songwriting credits in 2021.

Husband/wife duo Jim & Melissa Brady followed behind with nine nominations, including mentions in Song of the Year (for "You Gotta Have a Song") and Album of the Year (for Ever Faithful). Triumphant Quartet's Bigger Than Sunday landed the group eight nods.

Three artists earned seven mentions for their work in 2021 - LeFevre Quartet, The Isaacs, and last year's big winner The Nelons. Karen Peck & New River and Kingdom Heirs both earned a solid six nominations.

Next in line was 11th Hour and Legacy Five with five nominations apiece.  The Sound, Tribute Quartet, The Erwins, and Endless Highway landed a solid four nods. 

High Road, 3 Heath Brothers, Southbound, Gordon Mote, The Freemans, and The Kingsmen all landed three nods. Several artists earned double nominations, including Ernie Haase & Signature Sound, The Inspirations, Kelly Crabb & the Bowling Sisters, Zane Donna King, McKamey Legacy, Johnny Minick, Jeff Stice, Collingsworth Family, Mark209, and Jim Sheldon - The Positive Cowboy.

Another perennial favorite, producer/songwriter Wayne Haun is the most nominated industry professional this year, taking a record-setting 16 nominations for his work this past year. Haun earned six separate Album of the Year nominations for her production credits (Triumphant Quartet's Bigger Than Sunday, Habedank's Change Is Coming, Endless Highway's Come Home, Ernie Haase & Signature Sound's Keeping On, LeFevre Quartet's My Jesus, and Legacy Five's Something New). Haun is also nominated in the Producer of the Year category.

Popular songwriters Jason Cox and Legacy Five's Lee Black followed behind with eight mentions for their songwriting work in 2021.

Triumphant Quartet's Scott Inman and producer Jeff Collins earned an impressive seven nods as well. Jim Brady landed six individual nominations, while Aaron Wilburn, Michael Farren, and Tony Wood had three mentions each.

Four individuals received posthumous nominations this year after their unexpected deaths. Aaron Wilburn was nominated for Song of the Year and Progressive Single of the Year as the songwriter for the #1 single "First Church of Mercy" as well as a Songwriter of the Year (Artist) mention. Jeff Stice landed in Musician of the Year and Special Event Project of the Year (for his Dottie Rambo tribute Sheltered In the Arms of God). Celebrated songwriters Dianne Wilkinson and Kyla Rowland both earned nominations in the Songwriter of the Year (Professional) categories.

This year's awards program will return with a live program. Details on the show will be announced at a later date.

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

SONG OF THE YEAR

"A Good Day Coming On" - Kingdom Heirs & 3 Heath Brothers (L.Black, M.Harland)

"First Church of Mercy" - The Sound (L.Black, A.Wilburn)

"Grace Ain't Fair" - The Nelons (J.Clark, W.Haun, J.Lindsey)

"He Walked Out" - Triumphant Quartet (J.Cox, S.Inman, K.T.West)

"I Call It Home" - Tribute Quartet (S.Parsons)

"Messiah Overcame" - Karen Peck & New River (A.Homer)

"My King Is Known By Love" - Crabb Family (J.Bumgardner, J.Cox, K.T.West)

"Practice What You're Preaching" - LeFevre Quartet (L.Black, S.Inman)

"Religion Isn't Working" - Joseph Habedank (J.Habedank, M.Farren, J.Reeves, N.Romes, T.Wood)

"The God I Know" - The Erwins (J.Cox, K.T.West)

"You Gotta Have a Song" - Jim & Melissa Brady (J.Brady)


ALBUM OF THE YEAR


Anthem of the Ages - 11th Hour (J.Collins)

Bigger Than Sunday - Triumphant Quartet (W.Haun, S.Inman)

Change Is Coming - Joseph Habedank (W.Haun, J.Habedank, L.Habedank)

Come Home - Endless Highway (W.Haun)

Ever Faithful - Jim & Melissa Brady (J.Brady, J.Webb)

I Feel a Good Day Coming On - Kingdom Heirs (J.Collins)

Keeping On - Ernie Haase & Signature Sound (W.Haun, K.Crunk)

More to the Story - The Kingsmen (J.Collins)

My Jesus - LeFevre Quartet (W.Haun)

Something New - Legacy Five (W.Haun, G.Mote)


BREAKTHROUGH ARTIST


Avenue

McKamey Legacy

Phillips & Banks

Red Letter Edition

Southbound

Kenna Turner West


MALE VOCALIST


Jim Brady (of Jim & Melissa Brady)

Joseph Habedank

Scott Inman (of Triumphant Quartet)

Chris Jenkins (of The Kingsmen)

Steve Ladd (of The Old Paths)

Levi Mills (of The Sound)


FEMALE VOCALIST


Melissa Brady (of Jim & Melissa Brady)

Autumn Nelon Clark (of The Nelons)

Katie Erwin (of The Erwins)

Karen Peck Gooch (of Karen Peck & New River)

Amber Nelon Kistler (of The Nelons)

Amber Eppinette Saunders (of 11th Hour)


MALE GROUP


The Inspirations

Kingdom Heirs

LeFevre Quartet

Legacy Five

Tribute Quartet

Triumphant Quartet


FEMALE GROUP


Exodus

High Road

Kelly Crabb & the Bowling Sisters

Lori Jonathan Trio

Sisters

Sweetwater Revival


MIXED GROUP


11th Hour

Endless Highway

The Erwins

The Isaacs

Jim & Melissa Brady

Karen Peck & New River

The Nelons


SONGWRITER (ARTIST)


Lee Black (of Legacy Five)

Sara Davison (of High Road)

Joseph Habedank

Scott Inman (of Triumphant Quartet)

Becky & Sonya Isaacs (of The Isaacs)

Kenna Turner West

Aaron Wilburn


SONGWRITER (PROFESSIONAL)


Chris Binion

Jason Cox

Rachel McCutcheon

Rebecca J. Peck

Kyla Rowland

Sue C. Smith

Dianne Wilkinson


PRODUCER


Jim Brady (of Jim & Melissa Brady)

Les Butler

Jeff Collins

Wayne Haun

Ben Isaacs (of The Isaacs)

Trey Ivey

Donna King (of Zane & Donna King)

Gordon Mote


MUSICIAN


Stone Carter (of The Nelons)

Bryan Elliott (of LeFevre Quartet)

Eli Fortner (of McKamey Legacy)

Matthew Gooch (of Karen Peck & New River)

Blaine Johnson (of Kelly Crabb & the Bowling Sisters)

Johnny Minick

Gordon Mote

Jeff Stice


TRADITIONAL SINGLE


"A Good Day Coming On" - Kingdom Heirs & 3 Heath Brothers (L.Black, M.Harland)

"Given, Buried, Risen" - Legacy Five (C.Duren, L.Black)

"I Call It Home" - Tribute Quartet (S.Parsons)

"It Runs In the Family" - Collingsworth Family (D.Williams, K.Talley)

"The 99" - LeFevre Quartet (M.Funderburk, C.DeGazio)

"The God I Know" - The Erwins (J.Cox, K.T.West)


TRADITIONAL RECORDING


30th Anniversary - Paid In Full (W.Haun)

Everybody Needs Jesus - Poet Voices (P.Cross, D.Henderson)

I Feel a Good Day Coming On - Kingdom Heirs (J.Collins)

Just Sing - Collingsworth Family (K.Collingsworth, B.Knight)

Keeping On - Ernie Haase & Signature Sound (W.Haun, K.Crunk)

More to the Story - The Kingsmen (J.Collins)

Still Standing - Mark Trammell Quartet (M.Trammell, T.Ivey)


PROGRESSIVE SINGLE


"Address Change Notification" - Southbound (J.M.Wilson)

"First Church of Mercy" - The Sound (L.Black, A.Wilburn)

"Grace Ain't Fair" - The Nelons (J.Clark, W.Haun, J.Lindsey)

"He Walked Out" - Triumphant Quartet (J.Cox, S.Inman, K.T.West)

"Messiah Overcame" - Karen Peck & New River (A.Homer)

"Religion Isn't Working" - Joseph Habedank (J.Habedank, M.Farren, J.Reeves, N.Romes, T.Wood)

"Thunder" - Jim & Melissa Brady (J.Brady, M.Farren, T.Wood)


PROGRESSIVE RECORDING


A Reason For Hope - Kenna Turner West (J.Collins)

Anthem of the Ages - 11th Hour (J.Collins)

Bigger Than Sunday - Triumphant Quartet (W.Haun, S.Inman)

Change Is Coming - Joseph Habedank (W.Haun, J.Habedank, L.Habedank)

Ever Faithful - Jim & Melissa Brady (J.Brady, J.Webb)

Something New - Legacy Five (W.Haun, G.Mote)

Southbound - Southbound (C.Brown)


COUNTRY/ROOTS SINGLE


"Bring That Giant Down "- 11th Hour (A.E.Saunders, K.T.West)

"Everyday Battles" - Zane & Donna King (D.Williams, D.King, Z.King)

"God Walks In" - Freemans (R.Rambo-McGuire, D.McGuire, S.C.Smith)

"Higher" - Adam Crabb (J.Cox, D.Doss, K.T.West)

"Peace In Trusting" - Isaacs (S.I.Yeary, J.Yeary, R.I.Bowman)

"Raised On Red" - Wilburn & Wilburn (L.Black, J.Cox, J.Habedank)

"The Book" - Karen Peck & New River (K.P.Gooch, W.Haun, K.T.West)


COUNTRY/ROOTS RECORDING


Come Home - Endless Highway (W.Haun)

Front Porch Singin' - Oak Ridge Boys (D.Cobb)

Happy, Happy, Happy - Sunday Drive

Roundtable - Doyle Lawsn & Quicksilver (D.Lawson)

The American Face - The Isaacs (B.Isaacs, B.Sutton)

Till the End - The Freemans (D.McGuire, D.Freeman)


SPECIAL EVENT PROJECT


Once Again - Tribute Quartet

Remembering the Happy Goodman Classics - Johnny Minick

Sheltered In the Arms of God: A Piano Tribute to the Songs of Dottie Rambo - Jeff Stice

Softly & Tenderly - Kim Hopper

The Collection, Vol. 1 - Jim & Melissa Brady

What a Wonderful Time Live - The Inspirations


MUSIC VIDEO


"A Good Day Coming On" - Kingdom Heirs & 3 Heath Brothers

"First Church of Mercy" - The Sound

"Just As I Am" - Jason Crabb

"Practice What You're Preaching" - LeFevre Quartet

"The American Face" - The Isaacs

"The Day I Got Saved" - High Road


COUNTRY GOSPEL ARTIST


Darin & Brooke Aldridge

Endless Highway

Freemans

High Road

The Isaacs

Jordan Family Band

Mark209

Jim Sheldon - The Positive Cowboy


FAN FAVORITE ARTIST OF THE YEAR


Gaither Vocal Band

GloryWay Quartet

Joseph Habedank

Jim & Melissa Brady

Karen Peck & New River

LeFevre Quartet

Mark209

The Nelons

David Phelps

Jim Sheldon - The Positive Cowboy