Jim Webb is basking in the afterglow of a hunch that led to him winning the 4th Annual Whistler Music Search.
A runner-up last year for his solo performance as a singer-guitarist, Webb decided to increase his musical reach by bringing in other talented local musicians and creating the Jim Web Experience.
"I guess we stepped up our game and came out with the guns blazing and it worked, he says.
"I figured I would try to get backing musicians and with a little work it didn't take much to dial-in the sound. The trombone really made a difference. The crowd support was really encouraging, phenomenal and it was great to be up there."
The other finalists were singer Cayley Fee, musical duo The McQuaids and Filipino-Canadian performers Maynila Boys. Each was chosen as winners of three audition nights in October at The Crystal Lounge.
The Jim Webb Experience squeaked through to the final as a wildcard after coming in second on the final night. The McQuaids were the runners up in the final.
"The competition was outstanding. We knew we had our work cut out for us and we were fortunate," Webb says.
Organizer Jono Young says it was a bumper year for talent and the musicians played to a full house. Musicians come from all over the world to play in Whistler. This is a chance to reverse that trend, he says.
"Living here 15 years, Whistler always felt like sport, sport, sport to me. But this event really showcases the arts and entertainment scene for up-and-coming performers. The arts and entertainment in this town seems to be coming up leaps and bounds," Young says.
"As a whole, it was an amazing night and it really showcased Whistler local music and how it's thriving in town. All the entrants were quality, and music is thriving... the support was unprecedented and we can't wait to do it again next year."
Styles went from solo acoustic, "which was Cayley, then duos, then a full-piece band. Jim Webb had a full drum kit and a horn section."
Friends and musical fans ensured that it was standing room only. This popularity has led Young, and Whistler Music Search host Jon Shrier, to finding gigs for all the finalists offering a chance for them to become better known.
"We're going to start finding some places for the performers to get some stage time over the fall and winter, put them into place and see who's going to work on certain nights and to different crowd genres," Young says.
"We use the (music search) event as a stepping stone... as time goes on they get a bigger set list, we can move them over to weekends and whatnot. Definitely career building."
As winners, The Jim Webb Experience now gets recording time at Bunker 7 Productions in Pemberton. Runners up The McQuaids take home a Takamine guitar.
Webb is looking forward to hitting the studio.
"I'm really happy and looking forward to be able to discuss as a band what we are going to do," he says.
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