2017/2018 has proven to be a banner year for female Canadian blues artists from coast-to-coast, as the nominees for the 22nd annual Maple Blues Awards have been announced.
Leading the pack of hard-working blues women is Sue Foley with nominations in six categories including Entertainer of the Year, Electric Act of the Year, Female Vocalist of the Year, Recording/Producer of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, and Guitarist of the Year.
Toronto’s Samantha Martin Delta Sugar are close behind with nominations in four categories including Entertainer of the Year, Female Vocalist of the Year, Recording/Producer of the Year, and Songwriter of the Year. Other notable female nominees are Dawn Tyler Watson for Entertainer of the Year and Female Vocalist of the Year, Angel Forrest and Crystal Shawanda for Female Vocalist of the Year, Deb Rhymer and Emily Burgess for New Artist of the Year, Jenie Thai for Piano/Keyboard Player of the Year, Shirley Jackson for Horn Player of the Year, Lindsay Beaver for Drummer of the Year and Laura Greenberg and Leigh-Anne Stanton for Bassist of the Year.
Last year’s big winner was Vancouver’s Colin James, who has nominations in six categories including Entertainer of the Year, Electric Act of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, Recording/Producer of the Year, Songwriter of the Year and Guitarist of the Year. Ottawa’s 2018 JUNO Award winners MonkeyJunk received four nods for Entertainer of the Year, Electric Act of the Year, Harmonica Player of the Year for Steve Marriner and Drummer of the Year for Matt Sobb.
The Maple Blues Award going to the Blues Booster of the Year will be selected by the Toronto Blues Society Board of Directors and announced in advance of the Koerner Hall gala.
The 22nd Annual Maple Blues Award Nominees
Entertainer of the Year
Dawn Tyler Watson
Samantha Martin Delta Sugar
Electric Act of the Year
Paul DesLauriers Band
Acoustic Act of the Year
Big Dave McLean
Michael Jerome Browne
Male Vocalist of the Year
Jon Knight (Soulstack)
Female Vocalist of the Year
Dawn Tyler Watson
New Artist of the Year
Elliott The Audio Kings
Recording/Producer of the Year
Colin James – Miles to Go / True North (Colin James Dave Meszaros)
Jack de Keyzer – Checkmate / Blue Star (Jack de Keyzer)
Samantha Martin Delta Sugar – Run to Me / Gypsy Soul (Darcy Yates)
Sue Foley – The Ice Queen / Stony Plain (Mike Flanigan)
Sugar Brown – It’s A Blues World / Self (Sugar Brown)
B.B. King International Artist of the Year
Ghost Town Blues Band
Rick Estrin The Nightcats
Songwriter of the Year
Ken Kawashima (Sugar Brown)
Samantha Martin / Curtis Chaffey
Blues with a Feeling Award (Lifetime Achievement Award)
Michael Jerome Browne
Guitarist of the Year
Jack de Keyzer
Harmonica Player of the Year
Carlos del Junco
Roly Platt (Matt Minglewood)
Steve Marriner (MonkeyJunk)
Piano/Keyboard Player of the Year
Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne
Horn Player of the Year
Mat “Moose” Mousseau (Ben Racine Band)
Richard Thornton (Jack de Keyzer)
Drummer of the Year
Gary Craig (Colin Linden, Steve Dawson)
Matt Sobb (MonkeyJunk)
Sam Harrisson (Paul DesLauriers Band)
Bassist of the Year
Gary Kendall (Downchild Mighty Duck Blues Band)
Keith Picot (Brandon Isaak)
Laura Greenberg (JW-Jones)
Leigh-Anne Stanton (Wicked Grin)
Russell Jackson (Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne)
Online voting is open from November 1st, 2018 at 12:01 am Newfoundland Daylight Time. Canadian blues fans can vote online in the eligible categories until December 1st, at 11:59 pm Pacific Standard Time. Register here.
The 22nd annual Maple Blues Awards will be hosted by Raoul Bhaneja, an actor and 20-year veteran of the Canadian blues scene. The Maple Blues Awards will be held on February 4, 2019. The gala event is considered to be the premier blues event of the year. Tickets for the Maple Blues Awards are available online at rcmusic.com or at the Koerner Hall box office (The Weston Family Box Office, located in The Royal Conservatory building at 273 Bloor Street West, Toronto) or by phone at (416) 408-0208. TBS Charter Members can benefit from the ongoing exclusive pre-sale and purchase best available seats for a discounted price, $35.