The Sun Shines Bright on 16 Kentucky Artists at The Grand Ole Opry for The 2023 Josie Music Awards
Updated: Oct 30
The 9th Annual Josie Music Awards were held in Nashville at the Grand Ole Opry on October 22, 2023. The Josie Music Awards are the largest, most respected, revered award and prestigious events and association in the independent music industry. Their theme is "Chase Your Dreams - Be a Part of Something Big."
Kentucky's presence on the circle on the Grand Ole Opry stage was frequent, heartfelt and definitely "something big" for all who had the opportunity to stand on the sacred and highly revered space to accept their award. Let's break it all down to just how BIG that was for Kentucky last Sunday night.
From left to right:
1st Row: Chase Bush, Male Vocalist - Bluegrass, Kentucky Music Mafia - Album, Outlaw /Modern Country, My Brothers Keeper -Bluegrass Band, Trudy Sosbe Rose - Songwriter Achievement, Jonathan Goodwin - Musician of the Year, Guitar
2nd Row: Rags and Riches - Song of the Year "Talk" Tiffany Nesbeth - Song of the Year - "Beautiful Drug" Bobby Mackey - Hall of Fame, Taylor Hernly - Artist of the Year, Multi-genre
3rd Row: Overtones LIVE - Live Performance Video Production, Hailey Newman - Songwriter of the Year, Sam Roark- Vocalist of the Year, Taylor Hughes - Vocalist of the Year - JMA Alum, Samantha Dean Reeves - Songwriter Achievement, The Goodwin Brothers - Song of the Year "Everyday Thing" In addition, 17-year old Cara Bishop won Artist of the Year - Under 18.
Artist of the Year, Multi-genre
While Taylor is based out of Indiana, he is a well recognized and dynamic presence in the Kentucky music scene, playing about anywhere his new RV and his new band will take him on Kentucky roads. His fan base in Kentucky is vast and appreciative of his musicianship - a high school championship drummer and his singer/songwriting talents. Taylor was nominated for FIVE Josie Music Awards this year, mainly centered around his album "Sidewalk Preacher" - an original song that has become an anthem and them of his life story. His grandparents who adopted him when he was six months old, along with his bass player, Brandon Clem, were in the Grand Ole Opry audience to witness his walk to the Grand Ole Opry Stage and onto the center circle to give his acceptance speech. Introduced by Oak Ridge Boys William Lee Golden, and "Sidewalk Preacher" blasting across the auditorium as he approached the stage, Taylor tells me it was all surreal and that he didn't even hear it when he walked to the stage. Congratulations to Taylor Hernly on a fantastic 2023!
The Goodwin Brothers
Song of the Year - Bluegrass for "Everyday Thing"
What has been a landmark and most epic year for The Goodwin Brothers in 2023, The Josie Music Award for Song of the Year - Bluegrass for "Everyday Thing" was icing on an already HUGE musical cake. Winning the JMA Bluegrass Band of the Year in Fall 2022, they next went on to win three awards at the Lexi Music Awards in March of 2023 - Bluegrass Band of the Year, Critics Choice and founding member Jonathan Goodwin won Keyboard Player of the Year. The roll continued on to Prestonsburg, KY at the Appalachian Arts and Entertainment Awards two week later, when Jonathan won Guitar Player of the Year. Their next award winning stop was in Hollywood for the Hollywood Independent Music Awards - HIMA - where the band was recognized for Best LIVE or STREAMED Performance for "Shady Grove" from "Overtones LIVE Presents The Goodwin Brothers". When "Everyday Thing" was released as a single in April of this year, it immediately shot to the top of the Bluegrass Charts and the video - directed by Matthew Hyatt of Golden Coyote Productions and Jonathan Goodwin went viral most notably with the presence and guest appearance of internet sensation and brand ambassador Kisha Royse.
Rags and Riches
Song of the Year - Multi-genre for "Talk"
Brothers, Tanner and Peyton Whitt, perform as the adrenalized American alt-pop duo Rags and Riches, and they aim to bring hope and inspire a generation of dreamers. The Lexington, KY natives released their debut single, 'Speed of Sound" in 2019 and lit the spark for a wildfire breakout with "SOS" reachign over 915K+ streams and 525K+ video views.
The two man crew has performed 250+ shows in 40 states including tour support for Smash Mouth, Fitz and the Tantrums, Judah & The Lion, Durry and Leah Marlene. In 2022, they won 2 Lexington Music Awards for Pop Artist of the Year and Song of the Year "Outlaw" and have impressively clocked in over 5MIL+ streams and over 2.4MIL + video views in just 4 years.
Their debut album "Always Gold" was released in June 2022 via Sonablast! Records and impressively received 1.4MIL+ streams in it's first week. With their current explosive success - it is clear these determined brothers are rising to the top! The Josie Music Award win for Song of the Year - Multi-Genre for "Talk" is just another reason why!
Artist of the Year - Under 18
The 9th Annual Josie Music Awards were held in Nashville at The Grand Ole Opry on October 22, 2023. The Josie Music Awards are the largest, most respected, revered award and prestigious events / association in the independent music industry. Their theme is "Chase Your Dreams - Be a Part of Something Big."
Cara Bishop is a rising star that was part of something BIG on the Grand Ole Opry stage winning Artist of the Year in the Under 18 Years Old Category during The Josie Music Awards. As a matter of fact, along with her 2023 win, she has received EIGHT Josie Music Awards Nominations in a variety of categories in just the past two years!
Cara is a 17 year old singer/songwriter from south central Kentucky. Her witty wording and catchy tunes paired with her versatile southern voice make her an automatic stand-out. Add on to that her fun, charismatic personality and you can see why her music is so endearing!
In the Spring of 2022, Cara's debut single "Mine For Now" was released to both radio and streaming platforms, with the accompanying music video shared on YouTube. The video was also featured on CMT.com and has since been picked up by several other media platforms as well. She wrote the song when she was only 14 and it has already received a great deal of praise and attention from music professionals.
When she's not singing, writing or playing guitar, Cara enjoys spending time with her sisters, hanging out with her best friend, playing basketball, painting, and playing with her Golden Retriever, Charlie. She's also very committed to her education- maintaining a perfect 4.0 GPA.
Congratulations to Cara Bishop on winning The Josie Music Awards "Artist of the Year" Under 18 at The Grand Ole Opry.
My Brother's Keeper
Bluegrass Band of the Year
My Brother's Keeper is a progressive bluegrass band from Northern Kentucky / Cincinnati area that draws inspiration from rock, gospel, bluegrass and everything in between. Winners of this year's Josie Music Awards Bluegrass Band of the Year category - they have also kept the awards scene HOT in 2023 with wins at 2023 Appalachian Arts and Entertainment Award for Titus Luckhaupt - String Musician of the Year and for Keeper - Gospel/Spiritual Band of the Year.
With performances at Renfro Valley in 2022 with Jason Crabb and The Isaacs - they draw the crowd to their feet with their amazing vocals, harmonies and instrumental arrangements and talent as well.
“Amazing vocals, stellar playing, tremendous songs and superlative young human beings” - John Cowan of Newgrass Revival
"You are the whole package" - Batesville Herald Tribune
"They make good use of that family synergy and the natural harmony and compatibility that come with it." - Bluegrass Today
My Brother's Keeper consists of brothers Benjamin, Titus, and Joshua Luckhaupt on guitar, mandolin, and fiddle respectively. Wyatt "Sawmill" Murray completes this ensemble on the upright bass. MBK features four part family harmonies, soulful lead vocals, thoughtful original music, and an energetic live show that appeals to fans of any genre. Unique and exciting, My Brother's Keeper has brought their fresh blend of original acoustic music to fans all over the United States.
Songwriter of the Year - Personal Portfolio
The story of pop-rock country singer-songwriter Hailey Newman begins in a small and quaint mountain town in Eastern Kentucky. Born in Pikeville, and living just outside of Prestonsburg, Hailey calls the heart of Appalachia home, which makes her a true bluegrass girl at heart. She possesses a strong sense of family, music, culture and a small town, tight-knit sense of community. Life philosophies which have been at the core of her upbringing.
This is her first Josie Music Award win, however, Hailey is no stranger to the awards scene, She was named The Appy's - Appalachian Arts and Entertainment Songwriter of the Year in 2022 and 2023 brought her the Best Pop Award.
She has also impressively won Mountain Top Media's "Best in the Mountains" Recognition for 2022 and 2023.
"Winning Songwriter of the Year at The Josie Music Awards was a very exciting experience for me! I couldn’t be more honored to have received this award. Songwriting has been always been a part of my life since I was young. I even still have small journals of songs I wrote when I was younger. It’s great to know that it all finally paid off in the end. I’m so proud about being able come this far in my music career and plan to keep going!"
Hailey first realized she wanted to be a singer after she performed for her 8th grade talent show at South Floyd Middle School in 2015. After belting out her very best version of Miranda Lambert’s “Mama’s Broken Heart,” she received a cheerful and energetic response from her audience which she interpreted as a life-calling.
“My parents always encouraged me to just go for what I want in life, and were always very supportive of me and my pursuit to becoming a singer-songwriter,” Hailey explains. “My cousin is a comedian who also plays guitar, but other than that, I’m basically starting my own little musical revolution on my side of the family” she says smiling.
We are looking forward to hearing more from this young artist in the years to come and for future generations to enjoy!
Male Vocalist of the Year - Bluegrass
Chase Bush is one of the lead vocalists for The Goodwin Brothers and rounds off their three-part harmony with perfection in both phrasing, interpretation and harmonies. You would be safe to assume that although Chase isn’t a blood brother, the three vocalists have undoubtedly been singing together for many years. Founder, Jonathan says the ‘Goodwin’ boys first met Bush at a church gathering as young teenagers in the small town of Winchester, KY.
While Chase may be new to the bluegrass scene, he has certainly had his fair-share of time spent on stage. In 2006 he left the small town of Richmond, KY. and landed on stage in Hollywood as a top contestant on American Idol. Even then he was being prepped for ‘group singing’ as he was paired with Idol’s eventual season 5 winner, Taylor Hicks.
Randy Jackson says of Bush, “You remind me of a young Wayne Newton.”
In a genre that prides itself in fast picking and hard driving instruments, you better have more than just a typical voice to keep this crowds' attention without an instrument in hand. Bush certainly fits the bill. The Brother’s take on classics like “You Don’t Know How Lucky You Are” (Written by Carl E. Jackson / David William Wills) and "The Old, Old House" highlights Bush’s lead vocal as a soloist and as the ‘brothers’ harmonize on the choruses.
Female Vocalist of the Year - Multi-Genre (JMA Alum)
Country artist and songwriter, Taylor Hughes, is not your typical pop country artist. With southern rock and blues influences, she delivers a powerful, unique, and sassy sound that demands attention. Native of Lexington, Kentucky, she now resides in Nashville where she's made quite a name for herself. Award winning Gospel singer and vocal coach, Christy Sutherland, describes Hughes' voice as "rich chocolate cake with soul" along with being said to be "country music's answer to Adele" in the Tennessee Star. She currently studies under the world renowned vocal coach, Kati Hendricks. 2021 showed a lot of promise for this rising country star. After releasing her debut single, "Good Taste," which hit iHeart Radio and multiple other stations, her sophomore single, "Prayin' to the Whiskey," got her the attention she truly deserved. She was nominated for "Emerging International Artist of the Year" in the UK followed by "Praying' to the Whiskey" being nominated for "International Song of the Year" in Ireland, making the final top 10. She ended the year on a high note being nominated for the Southern Fellow's "Country Artist of the Year" landing in the final top 5 (her second year in a row.)
Her latest single, "High on Something," is currently charting in the top 100 on the Texas Internet Radio charts and continues to climb daily. Along with this success, she was nominated in 2022 for her first Josie Music Awards for "Female Country Vocalist of the Year" and "Fan's Choice Award." Hughes was making waves long before moving to music city though. She has been nominated in the Lexington Music Awards for "Best Female Vocalist," "Best Singer-Songwriter," "Best Country Artist," and "Song of the Year" winning in 2016, 2018, and 2019. She has opened and shared the stage with artists such as Chase Rice, Riley Green, Morgan Myles, Angaleena Presley (Pistol Annies), Sam Riggs, Striking Matches, Leah Turner, Alexandra Kay and more!
Hughes has achieved big goals for 2023 with multiple mini tours around the country, festivals, releasing new music, new partnerships and much more. She was nominated by fan vote in Country Evolution's "Artist to Watch in 2023" and received five nominations in the 2023 Lexington Music Awards, taking home the win for "Country Artist of the Year." She received two nominations in the 2023 Josie Music Awards for "Rising Star" and "Multi-genre Vocalist" and was awarded "Multi Genre Vocalist of the Year!" Taylor’s live shows bring the energy, passion, and true country music that fans have been dying to hear. This star is one you should definitely have on your radar!
Musician of the Year - Guitar
To add to the wonderful balance and harmony The Goodwin Brothers have experienced in the past year, guitarist and vocalist, Jonathan Goodwin has been recognized for his instrumental contributions to not only his own band but is highly requested to play as a studio musician on many other album projects.
He is also a big player in the Nashville Music scene. He's worked on both sides of the glass in the recording studio as a singer with the Goodwin Brothers and as a Grammy and Dove Award Nominated Producer. And hey, he is also recognized as being a great guy.
He can virtually perform on almost any instrument, he has never had any formal training and is entirely self-taught, and with a humble spirit and contributions beyond what words and measure or fully express to the mentoring of other young artists and musicians, he is one of the most well respected artists in Kentucky and the nation for many reasons. Being named Musician of the Year in all three regional awards programs in 2023, including the Lexi Music Award for Best Keyboardist and the APPY and the Josie Music Award for Guitar, his performance in the band's version of "Shady Grove" on Overtones LIVE garnered the band another honor in August at The Hollywood Independent Music Awards for Best LIVE or STREAMED Performance putting Kentucky Bluegrass on the International Independent Music Map.
Female Vocalist of the Year - Country
With the addition of this years JMA honor, Sam Roark has now won at the Josie Music Awards an outstanding third year in a row. Sam has been nicknamed "Americas' Honky Tonk Angel" and associated by many Nashville music critics to be a true Kentucky Country Gem. She was born and raised in Manchester, a small southeastern Kentucky town in Clay County. She started singing at age 3 and playing piano at age 5. Her “calming voice” has reminded many critics of the great country female singers of the 60s and 70s.
Her first 3 released singles all made the Top 10 of several well known secondary country music charts including Nashvilles New Music Weekly Magazines' Main Country Top 40 Her music has garnered lots of positive publicity such as having her biography for her CD release written by the late Patsi Bale Cox who was Garth Brooks publicist for over 20 years and helped the likes of Tanya Tucker, Loretta Lynn, and Wynonna Judd and she said Sam… is a talent that demands to be heard and once you listen you will never forget.
Sam Roark has been mentioned twice in Nashvilles' Music Row magazine by highly regarded music critic, Robert K. Oremann, featured on Microsoft Windows Media Music Guides main page with mega stars Madonna and Beyonce
Legendary Nashville singer, songwriter, producer, Cowboy Jack Clement lauded Sam for the innate "calming" quality of her voice, and others have called her THE most talented new country singer they have heard in a long long time with a sound reminiscent to some of the great country female singers of the 60s and 70s.
Along the way of her musical career she has been gained many accolades from her peers in Nashville and is well known in Nashville, Tennessee while performing throughout KY and surrounding states with her super talented, high energy, hard rocking band "South Rock" which in the past has included an Austin City Saloon favorite -Dillon Carmichael.
Her hit song “Whiskey” found her standing on The Grand Ole Opry stage with the international independent music elite last year receiving the Josie Music Award for Country Single of the Year. She made another trip to the stage this year as Female Vocalist of the Year - Country.
Kentucky Music Mafia
Album of the Year - Outlaw / Modern Country
In 2018 Shannon J & Toby Ray got together and started making the first sounds of what would become “ Kentucky Music Mafia", a whole different kind of country style music. In early 2021 they met and added to the group Roy Caudill . These three have really been doing it up right since then.
Shannon J grew up in Louisville, Ky., raised by his eastern Kentucky-born grandparents. They raised him on George Jones, Hank Williams JR., Stanley Brothers, Keith Whitley, and a lot more greats. He prides himself on being a proud American and preaching family values. He was introduced to rap music at a young age, and once he started making music, he blended both styles between country and rap and hasn’t looked back since then.
Toby Ray is a native of Louisville, KY. He loves to tour the country, perform, meet new people, see new places, and experience new things. He is a good-hearted, down-home, southern-bred country boy. His roots run deep In the Appalachian Mountains, throughout the hills of eastern Kentucky.
Roy Caudill was born and raised in Eastern Kentucky in a little town called Hazard. He has always had a love for country music. He was raised by his grandparents, who taught him to work hard and treat others the way he would want to be treated. His Grandma had a huge musical influence on him by encouraging him to sing gospel music in church.
The trio took 2022 Group of the year at The Josie Awards , held at Grand Ole Opry . Their chart topping 2022 hit “Hank And The Drinkin” quickly became a fan favorite and helped this duo finally get the recognition they well deserve. This year brings them the Josie Music Award for the highly esteemed Album of the Year, in the Outlaw and Modern Country genre.
Kentucky Music Mafia brings a whole different kinda country style to the music world which they call “Outlaw Mountain Music”.
They do it their way and the music is a mix of country, bluegrass, rock, r&b and hip hop all in one. These guys put everything into the music they put out and truly believe in everything they record for their fans.
Savannah Dean Reeves
Songwriter Achievement for "Get Me Every Time"
They say that music is the language of the soul, and nothing could be truer for this Musician. An inspirational artist, Savannah Dean Reeves, 21, has earned her reputation as a talented singer, musician and energetic performer. From live gigs to studio sessions and more, Savannah Dean continues to touch fans with her distinct and enjoyable musical style. Her music is leading her down many different avenues.
As a natural born entertainer, Savannah Dean knocks down the wall that separate the performer and the audience, inviting everyone into the party! Her music brings and energy to the crowd in an acoustic way and reminds fans what they love most about music - the story. Her original music takes us back to when music was about telling a story from the heart. Savannah plays both originals and cover songs, with a range from old rock and country to modern music, all with her own soulful flair!
She has written 15 songs of which 5 are recorded: I Hope You Burn, I Drink Two Then I Drink Too, My Momma Told Me, Stars & Stripes and Stolen Roses. Her single, Stolen Roses, is written in conjunction with the book Stolen Roses, written by a dear family friend, de de Cox, romance author. The song is available on all music platforms The music video is available after on YouTube and other platforms. (You'll also find her on the back cover of the book 😉 available on Amazon)
She best describes herself as a “Singer/Songwriter, music lover, guitar player, Jesus follower, country, rock, pop blues, I love ‘em all!” Savannah says that her musical journey began in her car seat with her twin brother, “Sky and I were always singing with my Mom." She inspired me to want to sing to bring joy to others through singing. We would sing in the truck all the time. We knew every word to every country song she played from the time we were 4. It was around that age that I got my first "pink" guitar. I would run around and strum it and try to act like Dolly or Reba and my Mom would say ‘Savvy you sound awesome baby girl, but if you’re gonna sing like those woman you’re gonna have to grab your big girl voice way down deep inside’. So I started trying to emulate them”. I believe that’s how I developed my style over the years.
Savannah Dean feels fortunate to have won the Voice Insta-blinds in 2019 and travel to California! Her gritty sound will have you moving your feet, and you won’t want to miss a beat!
Trudy Sosbe Rose
Songwriter Achievement for "Cold Hard Ground"
Trudy is a first time Josie Music Awards nominee and a first time winner. In her acceptance speech, she honored her beloved state of Kentucky.
Her goal as a musician/entertainer is to help people forget about the stress and troubles of life for a few hours and just enjoy themselves.
She was a 2022 Acoustic Guitar Participant and a 2023 nominee in three categories for the Appalachian Arts and Entertainment Awards.
She thinks music in itself is healing and meant to be shared and enjoyed!
Song of the Year - Multigenre for "Beautiful Drug"
Tiffaney says she is just a simple country girl trying to live the rockstar dream!
Born and raised in the beautiful Bluegrass State of Kentucky, she has spent her professional life being a Registered Nurse and the mother of two amazing children.
Her roots are in classic rock, blues, classic country, and pop. She considers herself a country artist but she has always refused to be pigeonholed into one category, so you’ll hear hints of other genres throughout my music.
She hopes y’all enjoy her songs and also hopes to see you at an upcoming show!
She had told me on a recent episode Overtones LIVE that she was nominated for four Josie Music Awards this year and that she was going to manifest the win of at least one - sending her to the circle of the Grand Ole Opry....and she did just that, with great style, class, grace and emotion about what the moment meant to her.
Josie Music Award Hall of Fame Inductee
Robert Randall "Bobby" Mackey (born March 25, 1948) is a traditional country music singer whose career has spanned 40 years. His musical style can be described by his loyalty to Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Buck Owens, Conway Twitty, and Johnny Paycheck, and is the foundation for his musical success.
Mackey opened Bobby Mackey's Music World in September 1978 in Wilder, KY along the Licking River, next to the same railroad track that he worked in his youth. Bobby Mackey's has been featured on network television shows such as Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures, Most Terrifying Places in America, My Ghost Story, and A Haunting. USA Today quotes Zak Bagans of Ghost Adventures as saying Bobby Mackey's is "one of the 10 most haunted places in America."
Live Performance Video Production
Warren and Renee Cobb, Executive Producers
Overtones LIVE is an exciting radio show emanating from Lexington, Kentucky and recorded with a live audience at various venues within KY which support live original music of all genres. Host Renee Collins Cobb and her weekly guest co-host feature musical artists from Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia, and Indiana performing their own original music. We focus on promoting diversity in styles and genres, and many of our artists have had songs on the top 100 Country charts.
The show has won the following honors in the past three years.
2020 Lexi Music Award for Music Business of the Year
2022 Lexi Music Award for Critics Choice
2022 Josie Music Award for Media Company of the Year for Visual/ Audio Excellence
2023 Lexi Music Award for Music Business of the Year
2023 Appalachian Arts and Entertainment Award for Short Film/ Documentary / Movie
2023 Remarkable Women Kentucky - Renee Collins Cobb
2023 Hollywood Independent Music Award, Best LIVE/ Streamed Performance
2023 Stevie Women in Business Award, Female Executive of the Year, Renee Collins Cobb
2023 Stevie Women in Business Award, Female Thought Leader of the Year, Renee Collins Cobb
Visit our You Tube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/@overtoneslive8084/videos
for all a wonderful viewing experience of videos showcasing the best of what Kentucky has to offer its music fans reminding you that when words fail, music always speaks.
Congratulations to all of the 2023 Josie Music Award Winners and Nominees and we wish you all a most successful and musical 2024. Special thanks to Josie Passantino-Boone and Tina Marie Passantino for crafting, creating a wonderful evening that celebrates the independent artist in such a magnificent, marvelous and memorable way for everyone!
Renee Collins Cobb, M.Ed. and Warren Cobb are Executive Producers of Overtones LIVE and Co-Owners of Listen Locally, LLC, as well as Executive Directors and Founders of Room 17 Productions, a non-profit 501c3 organization. We are also partners in Dreamland Entertainment Group and The Scribe TV Network.