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16th Annual Maple Blues Awards 2013

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Shakura S'Aida's Time

Shakura S'Aida's Time

Photo courtesy Electro-Fi Records

The Toronto Blues Society held its 16th annual Maple Blues Awards ceremony on Monday night, January 21st, 2013 at Koerner Hall at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, Ontario. Canada hosts a thriving, vital blues community with many artists of note and more than a few fast-rising up and comers that have made a splash on the international scene.

The annual Maple Blues Awards ceremony honors excellence among Canadian blues artists, and this year's event was hosted by Raoul Bhaneja, noted Canadian actor and musician, and frontman for Maple Blues Award winners Raoul and the Big Time. Performers at the awards ceremony were backed by the "Maple Blues Band," an outfit made up of former award winners and featuring Gary Kendall (Downchild), Michael Fonfara (Downchild), Teddy Leonard, Al Lerman (Fathead), Tom Bona (Soulstack), Chris Whitely, Pat Carey (Downchild), and Chris Murphy (Sloan).

Maple Blues Awards nominees are chosen by a panel of over 50 blues experts. This year's panel was co-chaired by a new steering committee comprised of Deborah Cartmer, Program Director at CFBU-FM radio in St. Catharines; Yves Trottier, Program Director at Dawg-FM; and Paul Norton, Programmer at CFRO-FM and CITR-FM radio in Vancouver. The nominating panel includes radio hosts, journalists, and festival organizers regionally distributed across Canada. Members of the nominating panel are not eligible for awards.

This year's Maple Blues Award ceremony also signaled the conclusion of the biennial Blues Summit, a weekend of panels, discussions, and workshops for artists, promoters, agents and festivals. The keynote speaker for Blues Summit Six was Holger Petersen, president of Stony Plain Records and host of the popular CBC Radio program Saturday Night Blues, who gave his speech on Sunday night, January 20th.

Winners in the Maple Blues Awards instrumental categories are 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 27th, 2012 and ran through midnight on December 8th, 2012 and was open to all Canadian citizens with a valid email address. Here are the winners (in bold) and nominees for the 2013 Maple Blues Awards:

2013 Maple Blues Awards Winners & Nominees

Entertainer of the Year

  • Colin James
  • Matt Andersen
  • MonkeyJunk
  • Shakura S'Aida
  • Steve Strongman

Electric Act of the Year

  • MonkeyJunk
  • Anthony Gomes
  • JW-Jones
  • Paul Reddick
  • Steve Strongman

Acoustic Act of the Year

  • Suzie Vinnick
  • Harrison Kennedy
  • Michael Jerome Browne
  • Ray Bonneville
  • Steve Strongman

Male Vocalist of the Year

  • Matt Andersen
  • Chuck Jackson
  • Harrison Kennedy
  • Paul Reddick
  • Steve Marriner

Female Vocalist of the Year

  • Suzie Vinnick
  • Dawn Tyler Watson
  • Nanette Workman
  • Shakura S'Aida
  • Treasa Levasseur

New Artist or Group of the Year

  • Steve Kozak
  • Ben Racine
  • Boogie Patrol
  • Conor Gains Band
  • The Harpoonist & the Axe Murderer

B.B. King International Artist of the Year

Recording of the Year

  • Steve Strongman - A Natural Fact (self-produced)
  • The Harpoonist & the Axe Murderer - Checkered Past (self-produced)
  • Shakura S'Aida - Time (Electro-Fi Records)
  • Treasa Levasseur - Broad (Slim Chicken Records)
  • Paul Reddick - Wishbone (self-produced)

Blues With A Feeling Award (Lifetime Achievement Award)

  • Matt Minglewood
  • Alec Fraser
  • Michael Jerome Browne
  • Danny Brooks
  • Ellen McIlwaine
  • Joe Murphy
  • Ken Whiteley
  • Michael Fonfara
  • Stephen Barry
  • Tom Lavin
  • Brent Parkin
  • Bob Walsh
  • Jim Zeller
  • Nannette Workman
  • Theresa Malenfant
  • John Dickie

Guitar Player of the Year

  • Steve Strongman
  • David Gogo
  • Garrett Mason
  • Kevin Breit
  • Teddy Leonard (Fathead)

Harmonica Player of the Year

  • Steve Marriner (MonkeyJunk)
  • Carlos del Junco
  • David Hoerl (The Twisters)
  • Guy Bélanger
  • Paul Reddick

Piano/Keyboard Player of the Year

  • David Vest
  • Julian Fauth
  • Kenny "Blues Boss" Wayne
  • Lance Anderson (Shakura S'Aida)
  • Michael Fonfara (Downchild)

Horn Player of the Year

  • Jon Wong (The 24th Street Wailers)
  • Al Lerman (Fathead)
  • Chris Whiteley
  • Frank Thiffault (Ben Racine)
  • Pat Carey (Downchild)

Drummer of the Year

  • Matt Sobb (MonkeyJunk)
  • Bucky Berger (Fathead)
  • Chris Nordquist (Jim Byrnes)
  • Sam Harrisson (Paul Deslauriers)
  • Tom Bona (Soulstack)

Bassist of the Year

  • Gary Kendall (Downchild, David Vest)
  • Alec Fraser
  • Omar Tunnoch (Fathead)
  • Stephen Barry
  • Terry Wilkins (Raoul and the Big Time)

Songwriter of the Year

  • Steve Strongman
  • Julian Fauth
  • Paul Reddick
  • Shakura S'Aida & Donna Grantis
  • Treasa Levasseur

Blues Booster of the Year

  • John Valenteyn

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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