Photo by Randee St. Nicholas

How Great Thou Art

Publisher’s Note: The Music Issue 2014

The Power of Music Reigns Supreme

by Lisa Burwell

As this issue of VIE is going to press, Carrie Underwood is preparing to cohost the 2014 CMA Awards with Brad Paisley for the seventh consecutive year. Her meteoric rise to fame after winning American Idol Season Four in 2005 has been something to behold. Since then, she has received six Grammy Awards, five Country Music Association Awards, eleven Academy of Country Music Awards, sixteen Billboard Music Awards, and seven American Music Awards, as well as nomination for a Golden Globe in the Best Original Song – Motion Picture category. She was also inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2008, a crowning achievement for someone so young.

Carrie is described as an American country music singer, songwriter, and actress in her biography. When I heard Carrie’s rendition of the gospel hymn “How Great Thou Art,” my opinion of her went from “good” to “great”—with her vocal chops, she delivers this song with incredible power. Carrie’s dance with fame over the past decade has shown that she can gracefully manage the effects of megawatt stardom within her professional and personal life. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to live in the limelight and still stay true to who you are—your roots—with a performance schedule that constantly demands that you be front and center. Carrie has blossomed and grown as an artist, and this beauty was born to shine! We are so honored to have her loveliness shining brightly on the cover of our second annual Music Issue.

[double_column_left] View of Navy Pier Featuring Lake Michigan And The Centennial Ferris Wheel [/double_column_left] [double_column_right]

So, how did we get so lucky to have this bona fide star grace our latest cover? I could say that the stars aligned when the second annual Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam took Panama City Beach by storm. Carrie Underwood was the headliner, opening to a packed house for the three-day music extravaganza, which took place in Frank Brown Park. Perhaps VIE’s being a media sponsor for the festival had something to do with it. But the fact of the matter is, I reached out to her publicist and requested permission to feature Carrie as VIE’s cover girl, and thankfully the answer was yes.


Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam is owned and produced by Dave Trepanier, Rendy Lovelady, and Mark Sheldon; they should be proud of the brand they have created in just two short years! This festival is a first-class outdoor concert, and if you have the chance to attend next year, you won’t want to miss it. Next year promises to be even better, if that’s possible, so be sure to save the dates—September 4–6, 2015—and be on the lookout for tickets to go on sale.

Dave Trepanier is also the owner of the famed Firefly restaurant in Panama City Beach, and he is one of the best entrepreneurs I know. “I was really proud of our staff and everyone who made it all come together. Most people have no idea what goes into a production like Pepsi Gulf Coast Jam,” Dave said. He then added, “I was also really happy for the city. Big names like Carrie Underwood, Dierks Bentley, and Blake Shelton don’t normally come to small towns like Panama City Beach. Since a lot of our guests were from out of town, we hope we made an impression on them. We’d like them to come back and become regulars—not just regulars to the music festival, but regulars to our beautiful beach as well.” Read all about the event in our article “Country on the Coast.”


This is an exciting time for Carrie Underwood: she recently announced that she and her husband, NHL player Mike Fisher, are expecting their first child, and the release of her Greatest Hits: Decade #1 is scheduled for December 9. If Carrie’s newly released faith-based single from the album, “Something in the Water”—currently number one on iTunes country music charts—is any indication of the album’s impending success, all is well! The song, which has been described as a “spiritual heartstring-tugger,” is about faith, fearlessness, and new beginnings!

[/double_column_left] [double_column_right] View of Navy Pier Featuring Lake Michigan And The Centennial Ferris Wheel [/double_column_right]

Carrie’s rendition of “How Great Thou Art” is beautiful, and with the upcoming holidays that will be spent surrounded by the love of friends and family, it makes me realize how much I owe my own life to God and His goodness!

Happy Thanksgiving, merry Christmas, and happy New Year to all of our readers and advertisers! Thank you for helping VIE spread the good news!

To Life!

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