The 24th Annual Maple Blues Awards 2021, went virtual 4 Monday’s in February, and the winners are……..
2020, was a year unlike any other. With the introduction of Covid-19 globally, we witnessed the world-wide music scene come to a screeching halt. We seen businesses, theatres, bars, restaurants, festivals close leaving artists and their tours having to be rescheduled or even canceled. This has affected every square inch of the music realm deeply, but as they say, the show must go on. I am thrilled to cover this stupendous event once again; however, this marks a first for the awards and for myself as it will streamline virtually this year, keeping things safe while keeping the music faith. Artists globally have been busy writing, recording, and live streaming from a distance, keeping their fans happy and craving more.
Awards were presented to outstanding musicians in their fields that have made an impact and I congratulate all of this year’s nominees and winners of the 24th Annual Maple Blues Awards, (every Monday in February).
Kicking the 1st presentation off on February 1st, 2021 right here in Toronto, with hosts https://alanabridgewater.ca North York’s all rounded musical artist Alana Bridgewater and the award-winning host of the radio show Morning Soul, founder of Mississauga Blues and Roots Association, 2-time Juno, and 8-time Maple Blues Award Nominee, Johnny Max http://www.johnnymaxband.com Performances were stellar! Dione Taylor was up 1st, she was nominated for Female Vocalist of the Year, New Artist/Group of the Year, and Songwriter of the Year, and last performance was Jack de Keyzer who is nominated along with his fellow bandmates for Entertainer of the Year, Electric Act of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, Recording/Producer of the Year, Guitarist of the Year, also Horn Player of the Year (Richard Thornton), and Bassist of the Year (Alan Duffy). The presentation went quickly, first acknowledging that the awards were held are on the traditional territory of many nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat peoples, and is now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. The 30-minute awards announced that they would be giving out 5 awards with 2 performances and a special memorial tribute was made to the late great cofounder of Toronto Blues Society, John Valentyne. He was born in Port Colborne Ontario, began his love of radio at Queens University in Kingston, and completed his radio/TV Arts program with Ryerson University. His dedication to music grew from here, with hosting CJRT, now Jazz FM, as well, at CIUT and where he reviewed artists monthly inside the Maple Blues Newsletter. He is the guiding light of these very awards, as a member of the Steering Committee, and a historian of the Blues and fondly spoke of by the amazing Holger Peters that night. RIP John Valentyne.
WINNERS from Feb. 1st presentation from Canterbury Studios https://canterburymusic.ca started off with the 1st Award – Guitarist of The Year– Sponsored by Long & McQuade https://www.long-mcquade.com went to Garrett Mason, (the son of legendary Dutch Mason). Garrett is a Juno awarded artist that is a true bluesman at heart. He was raised in Truro, Nova Scotia by his mother Pam, and father, veteran Canadian Bluesman Dutch Mason. His quest to become a blues musician started at a very early age; being surrounded by music blues music. Garrett’s band released their sophomore album Love and Sound in July 2008 which was nominated for another Juno Award and that album won Blues Artist/Group Recording of the Year at the 2009 Music Nova Scotia and Industry Awards. Congrats Garrett. https://www.facebook.com/events/d41d8cd9/garrett-mason/755105481248933
2nd Award – Electric Act of The Year went to 2-time Juno and 7-time Maple Blues Awards recipient Jack de Keyzer who is one of the hardest working artists I know. He is a former member of Hamilton band The Bopcats – a rockabilly group, who released two albums in the 1980s on Attic Records. After leaving The Bopcats, he became one of The Rock Angels, releasing an independent EP in 1983. His solo work began in 1989. His first CD release, Hard Working Man, was produced by Stacey Heydon. The album made a name for de Keyzer in the Canadian blues industry through the successful singles “Blue Train” (Produced by Danny Greenspoon), “That’s the Way” and “Nothing In the World”. The single “That’s the Way” reached No. 13 on Rock Radio. He has released 11 CDs and 1 DVD as a solo artist and has appeared as a session guitarist on hundreds of recordings. As a session guitarist, he worked with Etta James, Otis Rush, John Hammond Jr., Ronnie Hawkins, Duke Robillard, Robert Gorden, Willy Big Eyes Smith, Bo Diddley, and Blue Rodeo. Jack de Keyzer’s songs have also appeared in video, rock & blues radio charts, other artists’ CDs Prairie Oyster’s platinum CD, Everyone Knows, TV soundtracks, as well as in films for The Michelle Apartments, My Father’s Shoes, and on television for Traders and PSI Factor. 2009, de Keyzer was also named Great Canadian Blues Artist of the Year by CBC radio listeners. Congrats Jack!! https://jackdekeyzer.com
1st performance with Canadian blues, roots, soul, and jazz singer/songwriter, Gemini/Juno Award nominee Dione Taylor who is also the recipient of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award Mentorship Program who was accompanied by guitarist Nichol Robertson, and percussionist Lyle Malzan as they perfected from http://www.pachaarts.com her hit One More Shot, from her 5th studio album dated 2018 entitled, Spirits in The Water album. http://dionetaylor.com
3rd Award – Acoustic Artist of The Year category was Sponsored by Folk Music Ontario http://www.folkmusicontario.ca and started out with 5 nominees and was narrowed down to 4 as they disqualified 1 entrant for paying for social media ads for his nomination which is against their Maple Blues Awards rules. The winner of this category went to Matt Anderson. This 2-time European Blues Award winner is now a 9-time Maple Blues Award-winning artist who is also the first-ever Canadian to take home top honors in the solo/duo category at the 2010 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, who is a Juno nominated and CIMA Road Gold award recipient. His Halfway Home by Morning. Tennessee celebrated songwriter Matt Andersen’s tenth album collects all the essential elements for a down-home ramble and shoots them through with enough electrifying energy to drive the rock ‘n’ roll faithful to simmer, shimmy, and shake and is available online at Apple and Spotify. http://www.stubbyfingers.ca Stay tuned as he appears for a performance at the 2nd night of awards on February 15th at 8 pm.
4th Award – International – BB King Artist of The Year Sponsored by Montreal Blues Society https://www.bluesmontreal.com went to 2-time B.B. King International Entertainer of the Year Nominee, Tennessee Music Award Winner, 5-time Blues Blast Music Award Nominee, and International Blues Challenge Runner-up Ghost Town Blues Band http://www.ghosttownbluesband.com
5th Award – Recording/Producer of The Year went to Hamilton artists who are 1st time nominees, congrats to Steve Sherman and The Smoke Wagon Blues Band for Ballad of Albert Johnson https://smokewagonbluesband.com
2nd performance by MBA leader of nominations, 2-time Juno winning Canadian Blues guitarist, vocalist, songwriter, 8 time Maple Blues and Life Time Achievement award-winning Jack de Keyzer, who performed his hit Coming Up, https://jackdekeyzer.com from his Blue Star Studio https://soundcloud.com/bluestarrecords-official
There were plenty of thank you’s to share starting with Toronto Blues Society acknowledges all government sponsors, Government of Canada, FACTOR, SOCAN Foundation, Ontario Arts and Toronto Arts Councils, City of Toronto, and Canadian Private Radio Broadcasting. Stony Plain, Long & McQuade, Kitchener Blues Festival, Lee Osker, Limestone City Blues Festival, Ottawa Blues Society, Tim Hortons South Side Shuffle, Aurora Winter Blues Festival, SOCAN, and Folk Music Ontario. You can view the awards here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43eW0349jFM
Performer Credits: Dione Taylor–One More Shot (Dione Taylor and Joel Schwartz-SOCAN/ASCAP/BMI/Mata with Dion Taylor vocal, Nichol Robertson on guitar and on percussion Lyle Malzan. As well, Jack de Keyzer for Coming Up -Jack de Keyzer/SOCAN at Blue Star Records with Jack de Keyzer vocals and guitar, Alan Duffy on bass, on piano Nick Succi, and on drums Peter Grimmer.
Prelude Music Credit-The Walleye Strut (R. Smyth/Cement Music/SOCAN by The Kendall Wall Band-47 Records; Blues On A Slonite (G. Kendall/Cement Music/SOCAN by Chris Murphy at 47 Records/SpeakEasy Records; Sumlin Around – G Kendall with W. Dagenais, M. Davis, T.Leonard, H. Sumlin/Cement Music/SOCAN by The Gary Kendall Band at 47 Records.
MEMORIAL THEME MUSIC – For John Valentyne – song Funky London (A. King/UMB/Concord Music Publishing/BMI/CMRRA by Albert King at Stax Records.
Opening and Closing Theme – called Open Up by G. Kendall, M. Fonfara (RIP Michael), P. Carey at Cement Music/SOCAN by the Maple Blues Award Band at 47 Records.
Song Thanks A lot – G. Kendall, M. Fonfara, P. Carey/Cement Music/SOCAN by Maple Blues Award Band at 47 Records. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43eW0349jFM
This year’s 2nd of the four-part virtual streaming awards event appeared next from Ottawa on February 8th at 8 pm from Overflow Brewing Company http://overflowbeer.com with host singer-songwriter, composer, and multi-instrumentalist, Angelique Francis, (Angelique Francis Band https://angeliquefrancis.net and she was a powerhouse, well done! Alongside Angelique was the fabulous world-renowned drumming veteran 2-time Juno recipient, 21 Maple Blues, 2 Canadian Independent Music, and a Blues Music (USA) Awarded Matt Sobb (Monkey Junk http://monkeyjunkband.com). Angelique shared, “ we want to participate in the process of education and recognition of the injustices in our society toward indigenous people. We acknowledge that we are on the unceded, unsurrendered Territory of the Anishinabe Algonquin Nation, whose presence here reaches back in time and in memorial. We recognize the Algonquin’s as the customary keepers and defenders of the Ottawa River Watershed and its tributaries.” There were 4 awards presented with 1 beautiful memorial tribute and 2 stellar performances.
1st award for Bassist of the Year sponsored by OBS Ottawa Blues Society and went to the consummate and high sought after bassist John Dymond (Colin Linden, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, K.D. Lang, Bruce Cockburn, Steve Dawson, Suzie Vinnick). “who has the longest quarter note ever,” stated the host Matt Sobb. https://www.ottawabluessociety.com/home
2nd award sponsored by Stony Plain and the winner of Blues With A Feeling Award was a 1st, a TIE! This award went to both Joe Murphy from Halifax and Ken Whiteley of Toronto. https://www.kenwhiteley.com
The 1st performance was totally mind-blowing and hypnotic, with her new hit Rather Be Alone from her 2020 album, Church House Blues, This song really dug down deep in her soul, way to go Nashville-based multi-award-winning Indigenous singer song-writer, and producer Crystal Shawanda. She was accompanied by her husband and guitarist extraordinaire, Dewayne Stroble. Crystal was also nominated that night for Female Vocalist of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, and Recording/Producer of the Year. http://crystalshawanda.co
Angelique Francis share, “we are taking you to the memorial section of the night. Every year we acknowledge the loss of our Blues brothers and sisters during our awards, and this year we are sharing these tributes across each broadcast. Allow us now to take a moment to celebrate the lives of our dear friends and reflect and recognize the contributions they have made within this community, and the role they played in forging a national legacy.” Matt continued by saying, “last week we honored 1 of pillars of Canada’s Blues scene, John Valentyne. This week we are sharing the names of more that have fallen in the past year. For musicians and those that knew Michael Fonfara, we were really taken back when he succumbed to a 2 year battle with Cancer. He was 1 of the greats and tributes that have appeared across the Blues landscape, have told an amazing st0ry of a genius and a journeyman. Watch this month for the Maple Blues Newsletter for a great profile as well on Stratford’s Stew Laing. I knew and loved both these men and miss them dearly, as well as many that are featured here. Please listen to David Vest’s song Pretty Things for Annie, as we view the photos and remember some of the greats we have lost this year.” Rest in Peace Michael Fonfara 1946-2020; Guenther Kapelle 1967-2020; Stew Laing 1950-2020′; Wayne Buttery 1950-2020; Al Greer 1945-2020; Gary 17 Gary Webb Proctor 1950-2020; Zoe Chilco 1945-2020; Deborah Caldwell 1952-2020; Steve Groves 1948-2020; Jed ‘Rocket’ Rached founder of Ottawa Blues Society 1965-2020. “Thank you for all you have done for all the lives you have touched and all the love you have spread, you will be missed,” shared Angelique.
The last performer, Ottawa’s Billboard Top 10 Blues Artist, JUNO Award Nominee, 2020 International Blues Challenge Winner J.W. Jones who rocked it right out of the park as he projected his mesmerizing Blue Jean Jacket from his 11th studio album Sonic Departures. JW Jones was nominated alongside bandmates for Entertainer of the Year, Electric Act of the Year, New Artist/Group of the Year for Jones’s other act HOROJO Trio and Recording/Producer of the Year. https://jw-jones.com
3rd Award – Female Vocalist of the Year was sponsored by Limestone City Blues Music Festival and was awarded to the multi-award-winning singer, songwriter-producer, and Canada’s best female vocalist, Angel Forrest from Montreal. https://www.facebook.com/events/kingston-ontario/limestone-city-blues-festival-kingstonon/462046417925158 https://www.angelforrest.ca
4th Award – Entertainer of the Year was sponsored by TD KItchener Blues Fest and the winner was Dawn Tyler Watson.
Sharing a new initiative, gender balance, which is a movement in the music industry called KEY CHANGE. This is a global movement to improve gender representation and that we support as we do for Black Lives Matter, as it improves conditions within the Indigenous Society. This event was a great opportunity for community building and encourages all of us to do our part when making our choices with Blues music and all music.
Plenty of thank you’s were included in this broadcast of the 24th Annual Maple Blues Awards as they acknowledged the financial support of Factor, The Government of Canada, Canadian Private Radio Broadcasters, SOCAN Foundation, Ontario and Toronto Arts Councils, Folk Music Ontario, StonyPlain, Long & McQuade, TD Kitchener Blues Festival, Lee Oskar, Limestone City Blues Festival, Tim Hortons South Side Shuffle, Societe Blues Montreal Blues Society, Ottawa Blues Society, and Aurora Winter Blues Festival, SOCAN, and Folk Music Ontario.
Production Credits: Crystal Shawanda filmed in Nashville Tenn. J.W. Jones filmed at Overflow Brewing Company, Ottawa, ON. Eric Eggleston, Johnny Hall Productions – Audio Engineer. Josh O’Connor, Arms Race Productions-Videographer. Matt Sobb & Angelique Francis filmed at Overflow Brewing Company, Ottawa, ON. Dave Brennan, Ottawa Blues Society, Production Coordinator.
Performance Credits: 1. Crystal Shawanda Rather Be Alone – Dewayne Strobel and Crystal Shawanda Linus/True North/Socan/BMI at True North Records with Crystal Shawanda vocals and Dewayne Strobel guitar. 2. J.W. Jones with Blue Jean Jacket. Jones, Solid Blues Music (SOCAN), Tom Hambridge Tunes (ASCAP), Richard Fleming Music (BMI). Solid Blues Records JW-Jones (vocal and guitar), Jacob Clarke (bass/vocals), and Will Laurin (drums).
Prelude Music Credits: The Walleye Strut (R. Smyth/Cement Music/Socan) Performed by The Kendall Wall Band at 47 Records.
Bluesona Slonite (G. Kendall/Cement Music/Socan), performed by Chris Murphy at 47 Records/Speakeasy Records.
Sumlin Around (G. Kendall, W. Dagenais, M. Davis, T. Leonard, H. Sumlin/Cement Music /Socan), performed by the Gary Kendall Band at 47 Records.
Memorial Theme Music: Pretty Things for Anne, (D. Vest/Cordova Bay Music Publishing), performed by David Vest at Cordova Bay Entertainment Group).
Opening and Closing Theme Music: Open Up – (G. Kendall, M. Fonfara, P. Carey/Cement Music/Socan), Performed by The Maple Blues Band at 47 Records. Thanks, A Lot – (G. Kendall, M. Fonfara, P. Carey/Cement Music /Socan, performed by The Maple Blues Band at 47 Records).
You can tune in here to see the extensive list of thank you’s for all involved https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSomEfdG1fo&t=20s
The 3rd installment of the 24th Annual Maple Blues Awards 2021 returned Monday, Feb. 15th from Montreal with hosts Albert King Awarded singer-songwriter-guitarist Ben Racine, and the Female Blues Artist of the Year, 6-time Maple Blues Award recipient, and Juno winning internationally acclaimed singer, songwriter, Dawn Tyler Watson. Dawn greeted Ben by saying, “Ben Racine, guitarist, and frontman of my official backup band, the Ben Racine Band.” The night kicked off by Dawn speaking of the Land Acknowledge saying, “in our land acknowledgment tonight, we recognize that we are settlers on the unceded traditional territory of both the Mowhawk and the Anishinaabe Algonquin people. Toronto Blues Society supports community efforts to sustain a relationship with Indigenous people based on respect, dignity, trust, and cooperation.”
This 30-minute version featured 4 awards, 2 performances, and a Memorial.
1st award category was Songwriter of the Year that was sponsored by SOCAN and the winner was Colin Linden (T-Bone Burnett, Brother Where Art Thou movie, TV Show Nashville, or Blackie and The Rodeo Kings, or Bruce Cockburn).
2nd award category was Harmonica Player of the Year and was sponsored by Jam Industries and Lee Oskar Harmonicas. “Blues has virtually defined itself with the sound of this little instrument, think LIttle Walter, Jr. Wells, James Cotton. Our harmonica nominees are no doubt influenced by these greats and others,” says host Dawn Tyler Watson. The winner was Steve Marriner (multi-instrumentalist from Ottawa now Toronto, you may recognize his work with Monkey Junk, Harry Manks, or Colin James). Watch for Steve’s new album out June 2021 via StonyPlain and look for the CD Steve produced for Vistone Records artist, AJ Fullerton too.
1st up, of the 2 performances was the powerhouse performer, European Blues Awarded, Juno Nominated, CIMA Road Gold award recipient, and now 9-time Maple Blues Award-winning, Matt Anderson. Hailing from Perth-Andover, New Brunswick. Matt is no stranger to the Maple Blues Awards and was nominated for 2 categories this year and has already picked-up 1 for Acoustic Artist of the Year. He tours internationally, and he has taken top honors at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. Ben says, “we have a never seen before performance from Matt, that was laid down in a solo session especially for the Maple Blues Awards. He is here to offer 1 of his classics, “Coal Miner Blues’ from his 2018 album release “Live at Olympic Hall” recorded at the SonicTemple in Halifax.
The Memorial section once again was a heartwarming moment of emotions as we watched the screen that rolled artist after artist that passed away. Dawn shared, “Every year during the awards, we acknowledge the loss of our Blues compatriots and this year and we will be sharing these tributes across each of the 4 broadcasts. We have lost international artists such as Little Richard, Leslie West, Lucky Peterson, and Brian Lee. As we remember Canadians we wish to highlight members of the Black community including Salome Bey, Amoy Levy, and Jay Jackson. Salome Bey in particular was a major influence on dozen of artists throughout her enormous career. In a year that saw the Black Lives Matter Movement emerge as a force reacting to racial injustice. We need to acknowledge the groundbreaking pioneers like Salome and many others that fought for social justice in Canada. February is Black History Month which is celebrated ever since Gene Augustine single-handedly got a motion passed in Parliament in 1995, and she was the 1st Black woman elected to Parliament. Gene dedicated her life to equity in education. Wouldn’t it be nice to have racial equality everywhere, someday? I trust that we will continue, all of us, to strive towards eliminating systematic racism in injustices in our communities and so at the world at large.” Also, acknowledged in the slide show memorial were: Lionel Williams, Roly Greenway of Crowbar, and Seymour Grant. David Vest‘s hit Pretty Things for Anne, played as we honorably viewed the legends that made an impact and who have changed the lives of many, who had passed away this year. Ben shared, “Thank you all for everything you have given, the lives you have lived, and the music you have made, you will be missed.”
3rd award for Piano/Keyboard Player of the Year was presented to Hamilton’s Jesse O’Brien (Ronnie Hawkins and The Band). FYI, Dawn informs the audiences that, “The instrument categories of the Maple Blues Awards are determined by the nominating panel which is made up of DJ’s, Journalists, and Organizers from across the country. This panel of 54 dedicated volunteers also shapes the ballot that goes public. All their names are listed on the Toronto Blues Society’s website and there is also a downloadable contact document there for all artists and labels to use. We encourage everyone that is releasing new bodies of work (digital or CD) to make sure they get it out to the panel for consideration.”
4th award was presented to Gary Craig for the Drummer of the Year. Gary is most famous for his work with Steve Dawson, Colin Linden, Jan Arden, and Bruce Cockburn.
The final performance of the night was with South Quebec’s highly nominated Durham County Poets who performed exclusively from Cafe Petit Campus for the Maple Blues Awards hailing south of Montreal, to which they were also nominated for Songwriter of the Year, and Recording/Producer of the Year. We heard the title tune from their same-titled 2019’s 4th album, Hand Me Down Blues.
They streamed live from Montreal FREE6 EXCLUSIVELY at Faceboook.com/TorontoBluesSociety & at YouTube.com/TorontoBluesSociety Also, they held a before and after cocktail party https://bit.ly/MBAZoomParties http://www.benracineband.com https://www.cafecampus.com https://www.dawntylerwatson.com https://www.durhamcountypoets.com http://www.stubbyfingers.ca http://www.thesonictemple.ca/
Once again, there was plenty to thank and I am thrilled to share this link where you can view the many that contributed their time to this wonderful award adventure. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZXpvRooVdM&t=117s
4th and final 2021 MAPLE BLUES AWARDS portion, Feb. 22nd.
Canada’s National Blues Awards Program – Promotes blues music across Canada, and recognizing outstanding achievement in the field. Nominees for the Maple Blues Awards are selected by a distinguished panel of some 62 blues experts. Co-Chaired by the steering committee consisting of Yanick Theriault, Terry Parsons, and Brant Zwicker, the panel includes radio hosts, journalists, and festival organizers regionally distributed across Canada. Members of the Nominating Panel are not eligible for any of the awards.
The finale took place on February 22nd all the way from White Rock British Columbia from Blue Frog Studios. This show was hosted by community activist and blues/jazz and gospel singer Dalannah Gail Brown and legendary blues icon, a veritable national treasure, and actor Jim Byrnes which featured a performance by the 13-year-old trailblazing genius blues guitarist and philanthropist phenomenon, Liam Docherty who was nominated for New Artist/Group of the Year. Also performing is a classically trained vocalist and Jazz trained and blues-rocking, soul-singing drummer, songwriter, and bandleader Lindsay Beaver, who is a graduate of Humber College Jazz program with the 24 Street Wailers. Her trio consisted of guitarist Bradley Stivers and keyboardist Barry Cooke nailed her original, See You Again, what a great performance, and congrats on the nomination of the drummer of the year. https://www.bluefrogstudios.ca http://www.dalannah.com https://www.jimbyrnes.ca/ https://liamdochertymusic.com https://www.lindsaybeaver.com
What a stupendous 4 part installment that celebrates Canada’s creme de la creme. Congrats to all the winners throughout the stellar 24th Annual Maple Blues Awards 4 part series. https://m.facebook.com/TorontoBluesSociety
This 30-minute version of the 24th Maple Blues Awards 4th installment, featured 4 awards, 2 performances and a Memorial to folks that have passed away this year plus the Blues Booster Award.
The Male Vocalist category was an in-depth selection and the winner went to Matt Anderson, making him a 2 time 2021 Maple Blues Award recipient this year. http://www.stubbyfingers.ca
The next award was renamed the John Valentyne Blues Booster Award in honor of Blues historian and broadcaster, and Maple Blues Award steering committee member, John Valentyne who passed on last October of 2020. There wasn’t an envelope for hosts to open in this category, as this was the only award that was pre-announced. Congrats went to this year’s recipient, Cindy McLeod. Cindy is heavy on the Calgary Blues scene as she produces the Annual Calgary International Blues Festival, broadcasts from her radio show every week, and is an advocate for artists through the artist’s professional development. She had a long career in the arts as a dancer, jazz singer, and is a recording artist, now she is a true Booster! https://www.albertamusic.org/directory-profile/cindy-mcleod-music/
1st performer of the night was the YOUNGEST Nom and is a 1st-time nominee with the New Artist category, 13-year-old Liam Docherty. He perfected an acoustic solo along the seashore with his soon-to-be-classic original, Wipe My Weeping Eyes from his debut album, Modern Magic Melody.
The memorial portion of the evening celebrated international artists like Peter Green, Henry Grey, Joseph ‘Mojo’ Morganfield, Spencer Davis, Sterling McGee from Satan and Adam, Mississippi guitarist Kern Pratt and the great Californian Little Charlie Baty. As they remembered Canadians, they highlighted Duris Maxwell, the remarkable drummer from Powder Blues, and Bob Taylor, Vancouver’s Skylark. David Vest’s hit Pretty Things for Anne as the slide celebrated David Maxwell 1946-2021, Bill Dowey 1956-2020, Bill Eaglesham 1947-2020, Ferdi Brathwaite 1948-2020, James Hollywood Jimmie Badger 1962-2020, and Tom Jarden 1954-2020. Jim Brynes shared, “thank you all for everything you have give, the lives you have lived, and the music you had made, you will be missed.”
3rd Award was for Horn Player of the Year. This instrument category of the Maple Blues Awards is determined by the nominating panel. Which is made up of Blues Dj’s, journalists, and organizers across the country. This panel of 56 dedicated volunteers also shapes the ballad that goes public. They encouraged all artists that are releasing a new body of work, digital or CD, to make sure they get it out to the panel for consideration. Horn player nominees hail from Montreal, Toronto, Hamilton, and Vancouver. They are all super talents that add their flare to the projects they support. The Blues would not be the same without great horn players and Canada has some of the best. The winners in this category had to share the title as it was a TIE, going out to Mark LeClerc of Fuel Junkie and Matt Moose Mousseau of Ben Racine Band, and Dawn Tyler Watson. https://www.fueljunkieband.com/
4th Award and last category of the night was for New Artist of the Year sponsored by Tim Hortons South Side Shuffle Jazz and Blues Fest. This category is always a refreshing category. The winner was Hamilton’s Smokewagon Blues Band, making this their 2nd 2021 MBA this year. https://smokewagonbluesband.com/
The last performance of the night came from a Humber College Jazz Program graduate and prior 24 Street Wailer’s artist, drumming sensation, Lindsay Beaver, and her trio consisting of guitarist Bradley Stivers, and keyboardist Barry Cooke. http://www.lindsaybeaver.com
The Toronto Blues Society acknowledged the Government sponsors including Factor through the financial support of The Government of Canada and Canada’s Private Radio Broadcasters. This version of the show linked half a dozen British Columbia Blues Organizations like White Rock Blues Society who recommended Victoria and Nanaimo Blues Societies, and Blue Frog folks brought in Fraser Valley Blues Society and couldn’t forget the Blues Booster winner over at Hornby Island, and thanks to Mel at Vancouver Blues Around Town who helped get the word out. They thanked everyone in the region for promoting the Blues and a shout-out to the crew at Blue Frog Studios in Whiterock BC.
Check out TBS’s digital program to explore more! http://torontobluessociety.com/…/07/MBA_Program_2021.pdf
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSHx7Z92idE and you can see the magic that unfolded at the 4th installment of the 24th Annual Maple Blues Awards 2021 by clicking the youtube blue link here!