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15th Annual Maple Blues Awards 2012

By

Harry Manx & Kevin Breit

Harry Manx & Kevin Breit

Photo courtesy Mark Pucci Media

The Toronto Blues Society held its 15th annual Maple Blues Awards ceremony on Monday night, January 16th, 2012 in Toronto, Ontario. The Canadian blues scene has long rivaled its south-of-the-border neighbor in international status, the country hosting a thriving, vital blues community with many artists of note and more than a few fast-rising up and comers. The annual Maple Blues Awards ceremony honors excellence among Canadian blues artists.

Maple Blues Awards nominees are chosen by a panel of over 50 blues experts. Co-chaired by the Toronto Blues Society's John Valenteyn and Brent Staeben of the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival in Fredericton, the panel includes radio hosts, journalists, and festival organizers regionally distributed across Canada. Members of the nominating panel are not eligible for awards.

Winners in the instrumental categories were be chosen by the nominating panel; all the other award winners are chosen by blues fans from across Canada by voting on the Toronto Blues Society website. Voting opened on October 28th, 2011 and ran through midnight on December 10th, 2011 and was open to all Canadian citizens with a valid email address. Here are the winners of the 2011 Maple Blues Awards (in bold):

2012 Maple Blues Awards Winners

Entertainer of the Year

  • Matt Andersen
  • Jim Byrnes
  • Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne
  • MonkeyJunk
  • Shakura S'Aida

Electric Act of the Year

  • MonkeyJunk
  • Bill Johnson
  • David Gogo
  • Keith Hallett & Garrett Mason
  • Rita Chiarelli

Acoustic Act of the Year

  • Matt Andersen
  • Harrison Kennedy
  • Harry Manx
  • Suzie Vinnick
  • Tim Williams

Male Vocalist of the Year

  • Matt Andersen
  • Harrison Kennedy
  • Jim Byrnes
  • John Mays (Fathead)
  • Steve Marriner (MonkeyJunk)

Female Vocalist of the Year

  • Suzie Vinnick
  • Rita Chiarelli
  • Robin Banks
  • Shakura S'Aida
  • Treasa Levasseur

New Artist/Group of the Year

  • Sabrina Weeks & Swing Cat Bounce
  • 24th Street Wailers
  • Douglas Watson R&B Revue
  • Kat Danser
  • Tim Vaughn

B.B. King International Artist of the Year

  • Greg Allman
  • Bettye LaVette
  • Duke Robillard
  • JJ Grey & Mofro
  • Tedeschi Trucks Band

Recording of the Year

  • MonkeyJunk - To Behold (Stony Plain)
  • Suzie Vinnick - Me 'n' Mabel (SV)
  • Rita Chiarelli - Music From The Big House (Mad Iris)
  • Bill Johnson - Still Blue (BJ)
  • Harry Manx & Kevin Breit - Strictly Whatever (Stony Plain)

Blues With A Feeling Award (Lifetime Achievement Award)

  • Paul James
  • Alec Fraser
  • Danny Brooks
  • Ellen McIlwaine
  • Joe Murphy
  • Ken Whiteley
  • Michael Fonfara
  • Stephen Barry
  • Tom Lavin

Guitar Player of the Year

  • Steve Strongman
  • David Gogo
  • Garrett Mason
  • Jack de Keyzer
  • Kevin Breit

Harmonica Player of the Year

  • Carlos del Junco
  • David "Hurricane" Hoerl (Twisters)
  • David Rotundo
  • Roly Platt
  • Steve Marriner (MonkeyJunk)

Piano/Keyboard Player of the Year

  • Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne
  • Curley Bridges
  • David Vest
  • John Lee Sanders
  • Julian Fauth

Horn Player of the Year

  • Chris Whiteley
  • Al Lerman (Fathead)
  • Chris Murphy
  • Pat Carey (Downchild)
  • Neil Braithwaite (Blackburn)

Drummer of the Year

  • Matt Sobb (MonkeyJunk)
  • Al Cross (Jerome Godboo)
  • Bucky Berger (Fathead)
  • Geoff Arsenault (Morgan Davis)
  • Vince Maccarone (Johnny Max)

Bassist of the Year

  • Alec Fraser (Fraser Daley)
  • Alan Duffy (Jack de Keyzer)
  • Gary Kendall (Downchild)
  • Keith Picot (Twisters)
  • Omar Tunnoch (Fathead)

Songwriter of the Year

  • Suzie Vinnick
  • Bill Johnson
  • Diteodoro/Marriner/Sobb (MonkeyJunk)
  • Harrison Kennedy
  • Harry Manx

The Toronto Blues Society

The Toronto Blues Society was formed in 1985 by Derek Andrews, David Barnard, and John Valenteyn to help keep blues music alive in the city. Aside from the annual Maple Blues Awards, the Toronto Blues Society also sponsors The Blues Summit, a bi-annual gathering of blues artists and promoters from across Canada, holds various workshops, and publishes Maple Blues, a monthly music magazine. You can find out more about the organization on the Toronto Blues Society website.

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