Bonnie Raitt was the big winner at the first Orville H. Gibson Guitar Awards, taking two prizes at the Feb. 19 ceremony held at Gotham’s Hard Rock Cafe.
Raitt, who was named best female rock guitarist and best female acoustic guitarist, was not present, and neither were six of the other eight recipients.
Awards – voted record company execs and music journalists, as well as by readers of Guitar World, Guitar for the Practicing Musician and Musician magazines – are part of the music industry’s drive to raise funds for the Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy Foundation, Brit-based clinic that opened a center in New York last October.
Other winners included: Jeff Beck (best male rock guitarist); Pat Metheny (best jazz guitarist); Stevie Ray Vaughan (best blues guitarist); Richard Thompson (best male acoustic guitarist); Paul McCartney (best male bass guitarist); Tina Weymouth (best female bass guitarist); and Eric Johnson (the Les Paul Horizon Award for most promising new guitarist). B.B. King received the Orville H. Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award.
Only Johnson and King were on hand to accept. Besides the guitar-neck trophy, King was also awarded a new Gibson guitar. “I’m not very good without Lucille, so thank you very much,” King remarked, referring to his own long-lived guitar.