On Horizon Individuals

(Disclaimer: The following is a general observation and is not in reference to any individual on this year’s Fan Awards ballot.)

Random thought of the day: Occasionally, when a singer moves from one full-time major group to another, they are nominated as Horizon Individual of the Year. (The Horizon Individual award is mainly intended for newcomers to the full-time professional quartet scene.) When this happens, am I the only one who hesitates to vote for such an individual because to do so almost seems like a snub to the previous group?

Say Stewart Varnado moved from the Dixie Echoes to the McKameys. (No, don’t start rumors…I’m only picking on him because the readers of this blog already know I think he’d sound great with any quartet out there!) Anyhow, suppose that happened, and Stewart was nominated for Horizon Individual of the Year. While I would jump at the chance to vote for him in almost any other category in which he was eligible, I’d hesitate to vote for him there because it would seem that my vote would express an opinion that the Dixie Echoes were a small-time group–which they’re most certainly not.

Am I the only one who sees things this way?

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6 Letters to the Editor

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  1. The Horizon award is not just for newcomers. It’s for anyone who experiences “major growth in radio airplay, charting and personal appearances.” A move from a lesser known group to a better known group would be a good reason to nominate a person.

    If Stewart Varnado moved to a group like the McKameys, he’d be qualified for a nomination in this category. The McKameys undeniably get more chart action than the Dixie Echoes and arguably play to more fans buying tickets over the course of a year as well.

  2. Okay. I see your point. I had forgotten the precise definition of the award, though I knew roughly what it meant.

    I still couldn’t help but see such a vote as a snub to the group from whence the singer came, unless that group is widely acknowledged to be either second-tier or regional. (I guess this is all a way of saying that a vote for a person who moves from one major group to another is a statement that the group from whence they came is second-tier.)

    By the way, I don’t perceive the Dixie Echoes as second-tier. I view them as part of a sub-genre of Southern Gospel groups specializing in historical re-enactment, in doing things the old way. The Blackwood Brothers, the Chuck Wagon Gang, and the Dixie Echoes headline this sub-genre, and right now the Dixie Melody Boys are 90% of the way there, though they do a few new songs.

  3. Generally, it’s true. Of course, there are some exceptions.

  4. “re-enactment”
    I like that word.
    All we need now is for Mavin Cook to bring his tractor with him and the Inspirations would be 100% there.

  5. Daniel…do you consider The Melody Boys part of that sub-genre?

  6. I think maybe, but I’m not 100% sure. I haven’t heard anything they did since their Mike Franklin / Jonathan Sawrie / Jeremy Raines days.


  1. www.southerngospeljournal.com » Blog Archive » Historial Re-enactment in Southern Gospel - [...] There is, however, another sub-genre in Southern Gospel that is rarely discussed. I touched on it on the comments…