Vote in the Diamond Awards

The 2007 Diamond Awards are now open for nominations and voting. The rules can be found at this link. (Just in case the javascript popup isn’t working for everyone else, I gave the direct link so you don’t have to analyze the html to find it for yourself.) [EDIT, 11/8/10: The link appears to be down, and has been removed.]

This award program is sponsored by the SGN Scoops magazine / e-newsletter. I recognize that it is hardly the most prestigious award program out there, but I filled it out and posted my guesses partially just for the fun of it and partially because they have a few categories which will no longer be in the Singing News Fan Awards.

1. J.D. Sumner Living Legend Award: I went with Mark Trammell. The requirements of a 25+ year career and of significant contributions fit him perfectly. Nobody else can match his resume, either–25 years with stints in Southern Gospel’s four biggest groups (three quartets and a trio), before starting his own ministry and trio.

2. Group of the Year: Ernie Haase & Signature Sound barely edged out the Perrys. I wanted to vote for each, but ended up deciding for Signature Sound because they’ve pretty much had a banner year, while the Perrys had to spend some time rebuilding after Loren Harris left and Nick Trammell joined.

3. Trio of the Year: The Mark Trammell Trio, easily. Be watching for more great things with their upcoming radio single, the anthem “Once Upon a Cross.”

4. Duet of the Year: Left blank.

5. Soloist of the Year: Christian Davis. The award “recognizes male or female performers who record as a solo artist.” Even though he tours with a group, Davis indisputably recorded a solo project this year. Since this was the first Southern Gospel solo project I enjoy as much as I enjoy group projects, it was an easy choice.

6. Male Vocalist of the Year: Eric Phillips.

7. Female Vocalist of the Year: Olivia Collingsworth.

Why on earth did I vote for Olivia? Simply because I can–and because I do like her solos with her family. In the Singing News Fan Awards, I’ll probably vote for Libbi Perry Stuffle as I always do. I originally planned to vote for Libbi here, but then the idea struck.

8. Song of the Year: “Walk Away Free” by the Perrys, far and away the best song the Perrys recorded in 2006. The only other song I seriously considered was “I Have Been Changed” (Legacy Five, Glenn Dustin solo). But in the end, the subtle work of genius (transposing from G to C then back again) in the second verse of “Walk Away Free” put it over the top.

9. Video of the Year: “Coral Ridge Live” – Blackwood Brothers. I had to choose between this video, with great visuals but somewhat less-than-top-notch audio, and Legacy Five’s “Live in Music City,” with great audio but less-than-top-notch visuals. Since it’s a video award, and the focus is on the visuals, I went with the Blackwood Brothers. (Plus, their email update referred me to these awards, and I wanted to find at least one category in which to vote for them.)

10. Album of the Year: Come Thirsty by the Perrys. Signature Sound didn’t release an album in 2006, and the Mark Trammell Trio didn’t release an album of new songs. So I went with this one by default.

11. Songwriter of the Year – Kyla Rowland. I could have gone with either Dianne Wilkinson or Kyla Rowland on this one.
12. Instrumentalist of the year: Stewart Varnado. If you’ve read this blog for a while, you know I think very highly of his abilities. It’s one thing to accompany a group with the help of a London Philharmonic soundtrack; it’s another thing to do what Stewart does every night, and carry the entire show himself with a bit of help from Scoot Shelnut on bass guitar.

13. Sunrise Award: Ball Brothers. If you visit their website and listen to “Mercy Said No” on their main page audio player, you will know why I picked them. [EDIT, 11/8/10: The link appears to be down, and has been removed.]

14. Best Artist Website: www.dixieechoes.com. I take this category seriously, and don’t just vote for the websites of my favorite groups. From a website design perspective, the two frontrunners were the Dixie Echoes and Triumphant Quartet websites. The added bonus of an exhaustive history section sealed my decision to go with the Dixie Echoes’ site. I might add that this website is designed and maintained by my favorite instrumentalist, Stewart Varnado.

15. Favorite Industry Website. This is a category in which my website is (I believe) eligible, so I won’t disclose my vote in this category.

16. Favorite Christian Comedian: Gerald Wolfe. His sense of timing is impeccable, and he can read an audience like few others.

17. Bluegrass Gospel Artist of the Year: Lewis Family. I don’t really have a favorite, so I just put the Lewises down. I like listening to them for a change of pace once in a while.


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6 Letters to the Editor

Southern Gospel Journal welcomes letters to the editor. We will post the most thoughtful and insightful submissions. Ground rules: Don't attack or belittle groups or fellow posters, or advance heresies rejected by orthodox Christianity. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic.
  1. My ballot was somewhat differnt than yours.

    1. The living legend to me is Tim Riley who defines the bass singer in sg music

    2. We agree on group of the year

    3. For Trio of the year I have chosen the underrated Paid in Full. What a group.

    4. Even though they are now a trio, for most of the year the McRaes were a duet and I went with them.

    5. Soloist of the year–Mrs. Greene got my vote. Her songs were all over the radio and the voice is sublime.

    6. Gerald Wolfe will always be my male vocalist of the year.

    7. For femal vocalist, i’m going with another dark horse – Susan Whisnant.

    8. My Song of the Year is “Truth is Marchin On”. What a great song.

    9. The Gaither videos keep on besting everyone else and the Canadian homecoming videos were superior in sound, performance and content. No one can make a video that matches Gaither.

    10. The album of the year is Gold city’s “Revival” for so many reasons. The Perrys and the Kingsmen were close behind.

    11. I wnet with Diane for songwriter of the year. No one does more quality stuff and has done it for so long.

    12. My insturmentalist has to be Stan Whitmire now and forever. No one plays true sg like Stan. He’s the best and the fact that he is not recognized as such amazes me.

    13. sunrise? A lean year, but ai go with First Love. The Ball Brothers were second.

    14. Most of them are horrile, so I leftit blank.

    15. I went with Avery on this one. Sorry.

    16. Christian comedian? Ken Davis, hands down.

    17. Bluegrass Gospel Artist? Only the Lewis Family. They are the best.

    Good post and I enjoyed sharing my favorites with you, Daniel.

  2. Ron, I like your picks. A few comments:

    1. I may have gone with Riley if I had gone with those who are mostly retired, but I decided to vote for someone still on the road.

    6. I really like Gerald Wolfe, too. If I had gone with a lead singer, it would quite probably have been him.

    7. Granted, Susan Whisnant is probably a dark horse, but not as much of one as Olivia Collingsworth. Did you realize that Olivia, the one I voted for, is their youngest daughter? She may be eight or nine but she looks like she’s five or six.

    11. As I mentioned, it was a tossup between Wilkinson and Rowland, and I nearly went with Wilkinson.

    13. I’d agree that it was a lean year. I haven’t seen First Love yet, but I have seen the Ball Brothers, so that was a logical pick for me.

    15. No need to apologize.

    16. Most Southern Gospel fans would probably go with Ken Davis. I went with Gerald Wolfe simply for a change of pace. I also must admit that I like the subtle jokes, where you don’t laugh immediately but everyone gets it after a few minutes.

    Good post, Ron!

  3. Check out Olivia’s picture, wearing an enLighten T-shirt, at our website: [EDIT, 6/7/12: Broken link removed.]

  4. Thanks for the link, Marlin!

    And now everyone who did not previously catch my comments above should now. 🙂

  5. I saw First Love last September. They didn’t impress me at all. Most of their songs had so many stacked vocals that you couldn’t hear the live voices.
    True, the Lewis Family is traditional bluegrass more than any other bluegrass-gospel group that SG fans recognize.
    But, how on earth could you pass up The Isaacs??????????? Family harmony at it’s best without that ‘rambling’ banjo that far too often caraterizes bluegrass.

  6. My predidctions for the 2007 Diamond awards are as follows:
    Living Legend :Ronnie Hinson
    Group of the Year: The Talley Trio
    Trio of the Year: same as above
    Duet of the year: The McRaes
    Soloist of the Year: Bryan Langley
    Sunrise Award: The Dills
    Bluegrass of the year: The Clark family
    Songwriter of the Year: Gerald Crabb
    Male Vocalist of the Year: Jeff Bowling
    Female Vocalist of the Year: Lauren Talley
    Christian Comedian of the year:
    Tony Greene