It was a drama-filled Finals at the Orpheum, with twists, turns and surprises! The finalists were some of the most ferocious performers to hit the Orpheum stage in years! Huge talents, including Niko Wayne Toussaint, Brat Pack, Eddie Cotton, Brian Keith Wallen, Betty Fox, Brat Pack, Ben Rice & Lucy Hammond, Randy McQuay and Chris Yakopicic blasted blues to the enormous, ornate showroom for seasoned blues industry judges and thousands of blues fans.
In the end it was Randy McQuay won for solo/duo and Eddie Cotton locked in the first place band position, effortlessly controlling the crowd with his amazing showmanship and some of the most innovative B.B. King-influenced licks in years.
1st, Eddie Cotton with the Vicksburg Blues Society
2nd, Noah Wotherspoon Southern California Blues Society
3rd, Nico Wayne Toussaint with Southern California Blues Society
1st, Randy McQuay Cape Fear Blues Society
2nd, Brian Keith Wallen Daytona Blues Society
Gibson Guitarist of the Year
Noah Wotherspoon, Daytona Blues Society
Best Solo/Duo Guitarist
Ben Rice, Ashland Blues Society
Best Self-Produced CD
Altered Five Blues Band, Grafton Blues Association
Lee Oskar Harp Award
Nico Wayne Toussaint