Photos by David Hynes *(click to enlarge)
Above right, Jenie Thai and Gary Kendall; below left, piano champ David Vest
Standouts included Newfoundland’s feisty Earle & Coffin (above left), Saltspring Island`s Harry Manx alongside the evening’s Harp champ, Monkeyjunk`s Steve Marriner (above right) and guitar trophyist Sue Foley, accompanied by her own band.
Colin James, riding his Miles To Go album into a slew of awards. As the trophies began piling up, the humble Saskatchewan boy confessed to finding it all ``a little embarrassing.`` Upon winning the Electric Act Of The Year prize, he said, `` I`d like to thank electricity. It`s very cool.``
Harnessing that electricity to grand effect for the finale performance with Raoul & The Big Time, he cut some fierce solos against Baneja`s harp attack and special guest Alison Young`s courageous sax blowing.
After three hours of persistent blues onslaught, the lobby still filled up with fedoras and furs for an extended afterglow affair with award winners and fans mingling and enjoying a star-filled jam into the blue hours, featuring expert harmonicist Guy Belanger and his scorching band. The one thing you don`t have to worry about with the blues is that although it keeps growing, it never gets old.