Big John and Little Joe

Space City's tallest and shortest musicians rule the 2002 Houston Press Music Awards

Critic's pick: Fitzgerald's

Best Local Label
Solar Flare Records
Solar Flare's Bob Wilkinson is a man with a plan. The first phase of his multilevel scheme was to sign up a diverse stable of Houston's modern rock bands. Now that he's snapped up rockers Pilot Radio, industrial synth-core act Lights Over Roswell, hard rockers Liquid Youth and Album of the Year also-rans Superna, consider phase one complete. The second step was to get some product on the shelves -- ergo Superna's Reflect, the label's first release and also a candidate for Album of the Year in these awards. Not bad for a rookie. Next, Wilkinson is hoping to chart Pilot Radio's Solar Flare debut when it comes out on September 17, as well as finish up projects by LOR and Liquid Youth. This year Solar Flare's award was a big surprise, but future ones likely won't be. -- J.N.L.

Critic's pick: Plethorazine

Best Horns
Grady Gaines
Old-school with a capital O. It's obvious what made voters decide to give the Best Horns award to Grady Gaines over the young, fresh-mouthed whippersnappers who were nominated alongside him. The man has enough musical history to be his own exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He started out leading a backup band for a young talent named Little Richard. He has toured and performed with the likes of Sam Cooke, Etta James and Jackie Wilson. Just looking at his bio at www.gradygaines.com is enough to make a person wanna go out and do something more with his life -- with or without a wind instrument. And Gaines is still at it. The dude is inching toward 70 and yet out there laying down sax notes for audiences all over the world -- from the Third Ward's Etta's Lounge to Paris and Amsterdam. -- C.D.L.

Critic's pick: Grady Gaines

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