EHA-Nashville, TN --The televised 8th Annual USAGEM Awards Show was held on Saturday November 19, 2011 at the historic Texas Troubadour Theatre in Nashville , Tennessee . The three hour show was filmed by Fresh Well Media for future television broadcasts on the Family Friendly Entertainment Network.
Appropriately, Melanie Walker opened the show with a flawless performance of her upbeat, hand-clapping song, “Walking In Jerusalem”.
The Fox Brothers were the hosts of the show and kept the show moving with introductions of performers and presenters by means of their own brand of humor and wit. They garnered three awards including the Gospel Entertainer Of The Year, Vocal Group Of The Year, and the Christian Country Crown Jewel Award. Group member and funnyman, Roy Fox received the Comedian Of The Year award. The Fox Brothers closed the show with their popular rendition of an American patriotic favorite, “God Bless The USA”.
Members of the popular southern gospel singing group, The Gardners accepted three awards including the Song Of The Year accolades for their song “Sign Me Up”. They also received the Southern Gospel Crown Jewel Award. Group member Regina Gardner was the recipient of the coveted Female Vocalist Of The Year Award.
One emotional highlight of the show was the awarding of the organization’s most prestigious honor, The Diamond Award to USAGEM’s past president and Pearly Gates members, Daniel and Teresa Johnson. This award is a lifetime achievement honor presented to USAGEM members who show a great commitment to God, Christian service, and dedication to USAGEM. A further emotional highlight was the presentation of the Sapphire Award to Don Inks for his behind the scenes work and devotion to the USAGEM organization. Don is the husband and manager of Christian country artist, Peggy Inks. The Emerald Award was presented to Kent Smith Family member and founder, Kent Smith; and the Ruby Award went to television producer and radio host, Tommie Lewis.
The Male Vocalist Of The Year Award was presented to one of the organization’s perennial favorites, Rene Jones. He and his wife, Edie Jones presented an impeccable performance of their brand new Christian Country chart single, “Bible By Her Bed”.
Danny Jones did a superb performance of his self-penned song “Dream Giver”, a song featured in the upcoming faith-based movie “Secrets In The Snow”. Jones also garnered the Contemporary Christian Crown Jewel Award, his very first USAGEM trophy.
Newcomer, Russ Murphy had the enthusiastic crowd on their feet as he performed his hit single and patriotic song “My America” and comedian nominee Cheryl Jackson performed a very impressive stand-up comedy routine which had everyone laughing with her side-splitting, hilarious wit.
The Duo Of The Year Award was presented for the second time to Lewis & Lewis; The Musician Of The Year accolades went to Nashville producer and pianist, John Rees; The Accoustic Singer/Songwriter Of The Year was awarded to Christian country singer and songwriter, Ann Hartmann; The New Artist Of The Year honors went to new southern gospel group, The Davis Family; The Black Gospel Crown Jewel was awarded to television host and singer, Dewitt Johnson; and bluegrass group Leipers Fork Bluegrass were first time recipients of the Bluegrass Crown Jewel Award.
Charlene Harrison’s very stirring presentation of “How Great Thou Art”, and For Heaven’s Sake’s very powerful performance of “God’s Still Faithful” left the crowd wanting more. Sandi Kay & New Hickory once again brought the house down with their intricate bluegrass picking and singing as they performed “I Can See Clearly Now”.
More performance highlights included several featured special performances. New Artist nominees Allison Speer, Mark Brown, David Smith, Paul Sparks, Sunday Edition, and The Davis Family received a standing ovation for their moving and powerful performance of “Because He Lives”, a song made famous by the legendary Speer Family. Song Of The Year nominees Glenn Tubb, The Pearly Gates, Tank Tackett, Joe Arview and Thunder, and The Gardners each proudly and flawlessly performed a portion of their top five nominated songs. Musician nominees Shelton Bissell, Jim Frable, John Rees, and Jay Shupe performed an upbeat “I’ll Fly Away” while young USAGEM members Summer & Autumn Ryan performed their clogging routine, a bonus delight to audience members.
As a special highlight this year, in order to commemorate the addition of the Acoustic Singer/Songwriter Of The Year Award, a special songwriter’s round was featured and included performances by the top five nominees. Ann Hartmann, Daniel Johnson, Glenn Tubb, Tammy Vice, and Jimmy Jack Whitaker each performed a portion of one of their favorite self-penned songs. During this performance, a surprise special guest appearance by Nashville songwriter, Wood Newton added a special flavor to this already great songwriter’s collaboration. Wood has written many hit songs including “Bobbie Sue” made famous by The Oak Ridge Boys.
Bev McCann performed a very touching tribute to respected USAGEM member and award winner Amanda Fessant, who passed away earlier this year after a long battle with cancer. She was only 34 years old. Bev performed a medley of songs of Amanda’s favorite gospel hymns including “Amazing Grace”, “I Surrender All”, and “This World Is Not My Home”.
Special segment hosts were Rev. Harry Yates, Joanne Cash Yates, Peggy Inks, and Melanie Walker. Some award presenters were Brian & Allison Speer; media representative, Evie Hawkins; Mona Faith and Rev. Gene Fant; Don and Sandra Lee Burdick; Last Chance members James Burns and Mark Fuqua; and David Smith of the duo, David & Carrie Smith. Other presenters included Stephen Fryar; Marty Merchant; Darlene Chapman; Tommie Lewis; Roger Revette; Sheila Berry; Jim Babcock; Laura Mathy; Kent Smith; Ray Lewis; Dottie Tubb; and The Toneys.
The USAGEM Awards Show is a production of the United States Association Of Gospel Entertainers & Musicians, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. For more information please visit www.USAGEM.org or www.MyUSAGEM.org
Below is a full list of 2011 USAGEM award winners.
Gospel Entertainer Of The Year: The Fox Brothers
Male Vocalist Of The Year: Rene Jones
Female Vocalist Of The Year: Regina Gardner
Duo Of The Year: Lewis & Lewis
Group Of The Year: The Fox Brothers
Song Of The Year: “Sign Me Up” by The Gardners
Acoustic Singer/Songwriter Of The Year: Ann Hartmann
New Artist Of The Year: The Davis Family
Musician Of The Year: John Rees
Comedian Of The Year: Roy Fox
Diamond Award: Daniel & Teresa Johnson
Emerald Award: Tommie Lewis
Ruby Award: Kent Smith
Sapphire Award: Don Inks
Southern Gospel Crown Jewel Award: The Gardners
Contemporary Christian Crown Jewel Award: Danny Jones
Christian Country Crown Jewel Award: The Fox Brothers
Black Gospel Crown Jewel Award: Dewitt Johnson
Bluegrass Crown Jewel Award: Leipers Fork Bluegrass