(TORONTO, ON) — Internationally renowned Canadian blues artists from Coast-to-Coast were honored by their peers at the 17th Annual Maple Blues Awards gala in Toronto last night as a full house of blues lovers gathered to celebrate Canadian blues at Koerner Hall.
Ottawa’s MonkeyJunk and its members took home five awards, including Entertainer of the Year, Electric Act of the Year, Recording of the Year for All Frequencies, Songwriter of the Year and Harmonica Player of the Year for Steve Marriner.
Quebec’s thriving blues scene was well represented with awards for Angel Forrest for Female Vocalist of the Year, Dawn Tyler Watson and Paul Deslauriers for Acoustic Act of the Year, and Guitar Player of the Year for Paul Deslauriers.
Quebec singer-guitarist Bob Walsh was honored with the Blues With a Feeling (Lifetime Achievement Award) for his long career as a blues performer. The Award was presented by television personality George Stroumboulopoulos, and Yves Trottier of Dawg FM. Unable to attend the awards gala, Walsh delivered a touching video acceptance speech, with Rene Moisan of label Les Productions Brothers accepting on his behalf.
The New Artist or Group of the Year award was presented to Owen Sound, Ontario’s The MacKenzie Blues Band. Toronto blues artist Mark “Bird” Stafford and CBC Radio’s Mariel Borelli presented The Tim Hortons Southside Shuffle with the Blues Booster of the Year award, a very special Maple Blues Award honoring outstanding contribution to the Canadian blues music industry for their contribution as a popular festival and destination for blues lovers.
Hosted by Montreal’s Queen of the Blues Dawn Tyler Watson and Ottawa’s JW-Jones, both accomplished and internationally recognized blues artists, the Maple Blues Awards included outstanding performances from Maple Blues Award nominees past and present, including the evening’s big winners MonkeyJunk, The 24th Street Wailers, Charlie A’Court from Nova Scotia, David Vest from British Columbia, and Little Miss Higgins from Saskatchewan, all backed by The Maple Blues Band.
Winners of the 17th Annual Maple Blues Awards
ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR
ELECTRIC ACT OF THE YEAR
ACOUSTIC ACT OF THE YEAR
Dawn Tyler Watson & Paul Deslauriers
MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR
FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR
NEW ARTIST OR GROUP OF THE YEAR
The Mackenzie Blues Band
RECORDING OF THE YEAR
“All Frequencies” MonkeyJunk, Producers: Steve Marriner, Ken Friesen
BLUES WITH A FEELING (Lifetime Achievement)
BB KING INTERNATIONAL ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Tedeschi Trucks Band
GUITAR PLAYER OF THE YEAR
HARMONICA PLAYER OF THE YEAR
PIANO/KEYBOARD PLAYER OF THE YEAR
HORN PLAYER OF THE YEAR
DRUMMER OF THE YEAR
BASSIST OF THE YEAR
SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR
MonkeyJunk – Steve Marriner, Matt Sobb and Tony Diteodoro
BLUES BOOSTER OF THE YEAR
The Tim Hortons Southside Shuffle