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Meadville native’s gospel group in running for national awards

PHOTO SUBMITTED / High Road III members include (from left) Sarah Davison, Anna Grace Kimbrough Shideler and Kiley Phillips. Shideler is originally from Meadville.

PHOTO SUBMITTED / High Road III members include (from left) Sarah Davison, Anna Grace Kimbrough Shideler and Kiley Phillips. Shideler is originally from Meadville.

A Meadville native is a member of a Nashville-based gospel music group nominated for two national awards, and area residents can vote online to help her win the honors.

The group, High Road III, has received nominations for Breakthrough Artist of the Year and Female Group of the Year from Absolutely Gospel Music. The two categories, along with 10 others, are fan voted, and voting is currently open.

High Road III members include three graduates of Belmont University’s School of Music – Anna Grace Kimbrough Shideler, Sarah Davison and Kiley Phillips. Shideler’s parents, Bob and Susie Hollinger, live in Meadville.

Shideler says she views their music as a form of ministry and sharing the gospel.

“One day, the Holy Spirit reminded me of why we are playing music – to reach others for Christ and to show them light in the midst of their darkness,” she says in the group’s biography at their website, www.highroadmusic.com.

“Ever since I was little, I knew my life was going to look a little different,” Shideler explains in the bio. “I felt like God had placed a calling that required a response of separation from the average and the expected. He had called me to ministry, and it wasn’t until many years later that I actually accepted the calling, but the preparation for that began from an early age.”

“We strive to be real in our music and in our daily walk with Christ,” Davison says in the group’s biography. “We play real instruments, and the stories we tell at our concerts are close to our hearts. That’s why we’ve always wanted to approach our entire music outreach that way; by doing things a little differently and staying confident in the specific message God has given us.”

High Road III’s music, described as Appalachian gospel, features haunting melodies and innovative instrumentation.

AGM honored High Road III alongside gospel greats such as The Isaacs, Karen Peck, The Bowling Family and Sisters.

Twelve of the 24 categories for this year’s AGM awards are fan-voted, including both Breakthrough Artist of the Year and Female Group of the Year.

Voting began Feb. 1 and will end Saturday, Feb. 22. Fans can vote once per day by going to www.absolutelygospel.com and clicking on the “Vote Now” link to access the award categories.

The winners of the competition will be announced April 15 at the AGM Awards ceremony in Smyrna, Tenn.

High Road III recently partnered with producer Ben Isaacs of The Isaacs to record the group’s newest album, Angel At The Crossroads. Set to release March 28, the album features original songs written by High Road III and other writers as well as favorite hymns. The album features Greg Ritchie on percussion and Stephen Wilder on upright bass.

The trio’s bio explains how the album’s title song, Angel at the Crossroads, came to be on the CD. “The song was played for them as a group while visiting Florida last summer, and God spoke directly through the song at the moment it was played.”

The song reminds the listener that “whatever is happening in your life, no matter how scary or challenging, that God is in control of it all and He will send the right people to help you along the way,” the group’s bio states.

“That day, the Holy Spirit reminded me of why we are playing music – to reach others for Christ,” Shideler recalls. “God comes to a broken sinner in a quiet and still voice that offers peace, grace, and love. He offers redemption and victory over sin and even death.”

The group’s previous albums include The Road Less Traveled.

Formerly known as the SoGospelMusic Awards, the first Absolutely Gospel Music Awards took place in 2002 hosted by the online Southern Gospel magazine SoGospelMusic.com. Since then, more than 200 honors have been distributed to deserving gospel artists.