The Vancouver International Guitar Festival, June 23-25, is honoured to have legendary blues guitarist Jim Byrnes host the opening day Luthier Conference. The Luthier Conference on June 23 is the only event of its kind in Vancouver where professional luthiers and guitar enthusiasts can network and connect with legendary guitar makers and industry leaders. The highlights of the conference include keynote speakers, seminars, roundtable discussions, a social mixer and presentation of the VIGF Industry Builder Award to Jean Larrivee on the occasion of his company’s 50th anniversary.
Jim Byrnes was born in St. Louis, Missouri – that’s blues country. By age thirteen, Jim was singing and playing blues guitar. His first professional gig was in 1964. Over the years, he has had the great good fortune to appear with a virtual who’s who of the blues. From Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker to Taj Mahal and Robert Cray, Jim has been on the blues highway for 45 years.
Byrnes moved to Vancouver, BC in the mid-70s after years of drifting, working odd jobs and playing music. In 1981 he put together a band that became a staple of the local music scene. In 1986 the Jim Byrnes Band played 300 nights. Jim Byrnes’ fame as an actor has grown immeasurably from his too-numerous-to-mention TV and movie roles, highlights including television’s Wiseguy and Highlander series, and his national variety show The Jim Byrnes Show.
Jim has produced five outstanding albums in the last 10 years since he hooked up with Steve Dawson, one of North America’s most critically acclaimed roots music producers. 2004’s Fresh Horses and 2006’s gospel tinged Juno Award winning House of Refuge set standards that aren’t often equaled. Jim Byrnes plays 150 dates a year in North America and Europe. He will continue to bring his music to stages all over the world.
2014 Maple Blues Awards (Best Male Vocalist — I Hear The Wind in the Wires)
2011 Juno winner (Blues Album of the Year — Everywhere West)
2011 Western Canadian Music Awards nominee (Blues Album of the Year - Everywhere West)
2010 Western Canadian Music Awards Winner (Blues Album of the Year — My Walking Stick)
2006 Juno Award winner (Blues Album of the Year — House of Refuge)
2006 Canadian Folk Music Award winner (Best Contemporary Singer — House of Refuge)
2006 Canadian Folk Music Award winner (Producer / Steve Dawson — House of Refuge)
2006 Maple Blues Awards 2-time winner (Recording of the Year — House of Refuge)
2006 Maple Blues Awards 2-time winner (Best Male Vocalist — House of Refuge)