I thought I would take a break from the countdown today and officially announce the winners in the 3rd annual Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row honors. I picked the nominees, you picked the winners
AND THE BEST OF 2016 IS:
Recorded Song of the Year (song recorded on a 2016 album, did not have to be a radio single)
**”In The Hands Of A Carpenter” – Lee Black, Jerry Salley; recorded by Legacy Five (In The Hands Of A Carpenter)
I consider recorded song of the year the highest honor in this presentation. Lee Black and Jerry Salley are given that honor in 2016 for penning, “In The Hands Of A Carpenter”. And to Legacy Five, for bringing the song to life for listeners.
Single of the Year (had to be on the radio singles chart from January to December 2016)
**”Amazing God” – Lee Black, Janice Crow, Sue C Smith; recorded by the Triumphant Quartet (Living In Harmony)
After already winning song of the year at the 2016 edition of the Singing News fan awards, “Amazing God” grabs another honor, this time for single of the year.
Song Cover of the Year (a previously recorded song covered on a 2016 album release)
**”The Prodigal Son” – Second Half Quartet (Refreshing); Lavon Cantrell
The Cathedrals will forever have an indelible mark on Southern Gospel music. That shows as 2016 found the Second Half Quartet picking up honors for covering a Cathedral classic, “The Prodigal Son”.
One of the biggest margins of victory in the 3rd annual Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row honors is Lee Black winning songwriter of the year!!
Album of the Year (had to be a 2016 release)
**Here For You – Tribute Quartet (Daywind Records)
Tribute Quartet walks away with Southern Gospel’s best album of 2016, hands down the best recording of the group’s career thus far.
Album Cover Design (best album artwork/cover design from a 2016 release)
**What A Moment – 11th Hour
I like to honor the graphic designers/photographers who create album covers and add a little something special to a great recording. Aesthetic’s are important. The win for 11th Hour’s What A Moment, belongs to Kim Brantley (photographer) and Lynn O’Hara (graphic design).
Artist – Breakthrough (New)
When you combine three power house vocalists like Taranda Greene, Doug Anderson and Jody McBrayer you are left with nothing short of spectacular. Readers chose Cana’s Voice as best new artist of 2016.
Artist – Duo/Trio (no more than 3 vocalists)
Talk about another group having a monster year. 11th Hour picks up their first win as best vocal duo/trio of the year.
Artist – Mixed Group (at least 4 vocalists)
This was the closest vote tally among the five contenders than any other category. When the dust settled and voting closed, the Erwins grabbed their first mixed group honor. These youngin’s seem unstoppable at the moment.
Artist – Quartet
**Mark Trammell Quartet
Another clear victory came with Mark Trammell Quartet picking up their first quartet of the year honor. So many first time winners this year!
Vocalist – Alto
**Connie Hopper (Hoppers)
Connie Hopper has remained in a league of her own as one of the greatest individuals to ever grace a Southern Gospel stage. When the vote tally ended, Connie beat out Sheri Easter by one vote to win best alto vocalist of 2016.
Vocalist – Baritone
**Mark Trammell (Mark Trammell Quartet)
Mark Trammell was the clear front-runner from day one of voting. He held that lead and won with 57.7% of the vote total.
Vocalist – Bass
**Paul Harkey (Signature Sound)
Paul Harkey picked up his first win as best bass vocalist. I imagine it won’t be his last.
Vocalist – Lead
**Wes Hampton (Gaither Vocal Band)
Some readers were surprised I nominated Wes Hampton in the lead vocalist category. What readers weren’t surprised about is voting Wes best lead vocalist of 2016.
Vocalist – Soprano
**Amber Thompson (Nelons)
This is the 3rd annual Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row honors and this is the third win for Amber Thompson as best soprano vocalist.
Vocalist – Tenor
**Riley Harrison Clark (Tribute Quartet)
I believe 2016 is the best year yet for the Tribute Quartet. It showed in the way readers voted this year. Riley Harrison Clark grabs his first win as Southern Gospel’s best tenor vocalist.
**Thanks to all the readers who came by during the voting, making for the most participated annual honors yet. I’ve got a smart bunch of readers because I think your choices definitely represent the best of 2016**.