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The Newfoundland duo Crush did just that to the competition at the East Coast Music Awards yesterday, winning all five categories in which it was nominated.

Cory Tetford and Paul Lamb, the two creators of the pop-rock band, won group of the year and rock recording of the year for their second CD, Face in the Crowd.

The band won songwriter of the year and best single for King for a Day and they were also chosen entertainers of the year -- the only award decided by the public.

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Even before the entertainer of the year award was announced at the St. John's ceremony, the band members said they were thrilled just to be nominated.

"That is voted on by the fans. At the end of the day you can't necessarily judge your career by awards," Mr. Lamb said.

Mr. Tetford, the son of a Pentecostal minister, and Mr. Lamb, who was playing in Newfoundland bands by the time he was 17, met in 1994. But it wasn't until 2000 that the two formed the group, releasing their first CD to critical acclaim in 2002.

Newfoundland singers Ron Hynes and Damhnait Doyle visited the podium twice last night.

Mr. Hynes picked up pewter trophies for best album and country recording of the year for his latest, Get Back Change.

Ms. Doyle, now a member of the group Shaye, was awarded female artist of the year and best pop recording for her CD davnet."This is a record that I made on my own. It's a very independent recording," she said after accepting her first trophy of the evening. She said she hopes the award will get people into stores to buy the CD.

"We really need people to do that," she said.

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The band Forever, winners of the aboriginal recording of the year, had the sell-out crowd at Mile One Stadium cheering with their parody of Janet Jackson's Super Bowl strip-down.

Band mates whisked Peter Christmas off the stage during the pre-show after tearing his T-shirt open to expose a nipple-ring-free right breast.

Later in the evening, Nova Scotia's Jimmy Rankin took male artist and solo recording of the year with his CD Handmade.

And Dutch Robinson was the only other multiple award winner, taking home honours for African-Canadian recording of the year for I Took the Long Way Home and best urban single track recording.

Over the past 16 years, the East Coast Music Awards show has outgrown the tiny Halifax club where it began and has brought the East Coast's musical styles to the rest of Canada and beyond.

The show was given an extra boost last night by the attendance of Prime Minister Paul Martin.

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Other winners included Buck 65 for alternative recording of the year. The Birchmountain Bluegrass Band won best bluegrass recording and Matt Minglewood was honoured for best blues.

The Ennis Sisters were named roots recording of the year and Sloan took the honour for the best video of the year.

Meanwhile, Jeff Goodspeed and Jorge Chicoy with HavanaFax won the jazz recording category; Richard Wood won the instrumental category, and classical artist Jasper Wood received an award for his recording of violin and piano works by Stravinsky.

Some of Atlantic Canada's best-known musicians were scheduled to perform at the gala, including Crush, Great Big Sea and Jimmy Rankin. Newcomer Matt Mays, who was named best new artist of the year, was also to perform with his band El Torpedo.

The Newfoundland group Ryan's Fancy, whose television shows in the 1970s and 80s helped revitalize the region's traditional Celtic sound, received a lifetime achievement award at the gala, which was broadcast live on CBC.

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