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Maples Blues Awards 2014

MonkeyJunk, Jim Byrnes & Dawn Tyler Watson big winners


Canadian bluesman Jim Byrnes

Canadian bluesman Jim Byrnes

Photo courtesy Jim Byrnes

The Toronto Blues Society held its 17th annual Maple Blues Awards ceremony on Monday night, January 20th, 2014 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 the 2014 event was hosted by blueswoman Dawn Tyler Watson and blues guitarist JW Jones. The show also included performances from past and present Maple Blues Awards nominees including MonkeyJunk, The 24th Street Wailers, Charlie A'Court, David Vest, and Little Miss Higgins.

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.

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 November 1st, 2013 and ran through midnight on December 7th, 2013 and was open to all Canadian citizens with a valid email address. Here are the winners (in bold) and nominees for the 2014 Maple Blues Awards:

2014 Maple Blues Awards Winners & Nominees

Entertainer of the Year
The 24th Street Wailers
Shakura S'Aida
Steve Strongman
The Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer

Electric Act of the Year
The 24th Street Wailers
Bill Durst
David Gogo

Acoustic Act of the Year
Brandon Isaak
Dawn Tyler Watson & Paul Deslauriers
Harrison Kennedy
Little Miss Higgins
Michael Jerome Browne

Male Vocalist of the Year
Bob Walsh
Charlie A'Court
Donald Ray Johnson
Harrison Kennedy
Jim Byrnes

Female Vocalist of the Year
Angel Forrest
Dawn Tyler Watson
Layla Zoe
Shakura S'aida
Treasa Levasseur

New Artist or Group of the Year
Brant Parker Blues Band
Declan O'Donovan
Denis Viel
James Buddy Rogers
The Mackenzie Blues Band

B.B. King International Artist of the Year
James Cotton
Dr. John
Mavis Staples
Tedeschi Trucks Band
Trampled Under Foot

Recording of the Year
MonkeyJunk – All Frequencies (Stony Plain)
David Vest – East Meets Vest (Ark-O-Matic)
Julian Fauth – Everybody Ought To Treat A Stranger Right (Electro-Fi)
Angel Forrest – Mother Tongue Blues (Morning Star)
Ben Racine Band – One of A Kind (Iguane)

Blues With A Feeling Award (Lifetime Achievement)
Alec Fraser
Danny Brooks
Ellen McIlwaine
Joe Murphy
Ken Whiteley
Michael Fonfara
Stephen Barry
Tom Lavin
Michael Jerome Browne
Brent Parkin
Bob Walsh
Jim Zeller
Nannette Workman
Theresa Malenfant
John Dickie

Guitar Player of the Year
David Gogo
Kevin Breit
Paul Deslauriers
Steve Strongman
Tony D (MonkeyJunk)

Harmonica Player of the Year
Carlos del Junco
David Rotundo
Guy Bélanger
Shawn Hall (The Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer)
Steve Marriner

Piano/Keyboard Player of the Year
David Vest
Graham Guest
Julian Fauth
Kenny "Blues Boss" Wayne
Lance Anderson

Horn Player of the Year
Al Lerman (Fathead)
Chris Whiteley
Frank Thiffault (Ben Racine)
Jon Wong (The 24th Street Wailers)
Shirley Jackson

Drummer of the Year
Bucky Berger
Chris Nordquist
Dave King (Steve Strongman)
Sam Harrisson (Paul Deslauriers)
Tom Bona (Soulstack)

Bassist of the Year
Alec Fraser
Gary Kendall (David Vest, Downchild)
Keith Picot (Brandon Isaak)
Omar Tunnoch (Fathead)
Russell Jackson

Songwriter of the Year
Brandon Isaak
Charlie A'Court
Harrison Kennedy
Julian Fauth
Steve Marriner, Matt Sobb & Tony Diteodoro (MonkeyJunk)

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