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Maple Blues Awards

Winners Are Announced!

Some of the best in Canadian Blues were honoured with Maple Blues Awards at the near sold-out 22ndannual Maple Blues Awards on Monday, February 4 at Koerner Hall. Hosted by popular theatre/television actor and blues artist Raoul Bhaneja (of Raoul and The Big Time), the audience was treated to sizzling performances by Edmonton expat Jenie Thai, Newfoundland’s Earle & Coffin, Ottawa’s Sue Foley (now based in Austin), and Toronto-based guitarist and singer Emily Burgess.  Salt Spring Island’s Harry Manx teamed up with MonkeyJunk’s Steve Marriner to preview their new release and Raoul closed the show with the Big Time joined by surprise guest and big winner Colin James for the finale.

Entertainer of the Year
Colin James


Electric Act of the Year
Colin James


Acoustic Act of the Year
Big Dave McLean


Male Vocalist of the Year
Colin James


Female Vocalist of the Year
Angel Forrest


New Artist of the Year
Emily Burgess


Recording/Producer of the Year
Colin James – Miles to Go / True North (Colin James & Dave Meszaros)


International Artist of the Year
Buddy Guy


Songwriter of the Year
Colin James


Blues with a Feeling Award (Lifetime Achievement Award)
Ellen McIlwaine


Guitarist of the Year
Sue Foley


Piano/Keyboard Player of the Year
David Vest


Harmonica Player of the Year
Steve Marriner


Horn Player of the Year
Shirley Jackson


Drummer of the Year
Lindsay Beaver


Bassist of the Year
Laura Greenberg (JW-Jones)


Blues Booster of the Year
The Hornby Island Blues Society


In 2020 the Maple Blues Awards will introduce the Sapphire Award for Best Blues Video. Details coming up soon…

Check out the photos from the 22nd Maple Blues Awards by clicking here. Photo credits: Greg King


We are thrilled to announce The Hornby Island Blues Society as the

Blues Booster of the Year award recipient, a very special Maple Blues Award honouring outstanding contribution to the Canadian blues music industry.

The volunteer-driven organization hosts the Hornby Island Blues Week and Music Camp every May on beautiful Hornby Island, BC. Their mandate is to bring blues performers to the island to create a greater awareness of Canadian blues music and of the depth that Canadian musicians have to offer.

Celebrating their 20th year, The Hornby Island Blues Society will be honoured with the Blues Booster of the Year award at the 22nd annual Maple Blues Awards in Toronto on February 4.


Maple Blues Awards - Koerner Hall - January 15th, 2018The Maple Blues Awards is Canada’s national blues awards program. Its goal is to promote blues music across Canada, and to recognize outstanding achievement in the field. Winners in all categories (excluding the instrumental categories*) are decided by blues fans across Canada. Voting occurs online each November.

Nominating Panel & Steering Committee.  The nominees are selected by a distinguished panel of approximately 50 blues experts who form the MBA Nominating Panel. Co-chaired by the steering committee consisting of Terry Parsons, Yanick Theriault, John Valenteyn 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.

*Instrumental Categories.  Winners in the guitar, harmonica, piano/keyboards, horn, drum, and bass categories are not open for public vote. Instrumental or “craft” categories are determined by a panel of experts drawn from the nominating panel.

The awards program is proudly organized by the Toronto Blues Society. 


Internationally renowned Canadian Blues artists from coast to coast were honoured by their peers at the 21st Annual Maple Blues Awards gala in Toronto January 15th, 2018 as a full house of blues lovers gathered to celebrate Canadian blues at Koerner Hall.

Hosted by Multiple Juno Award-winning Indigenous vocalist ShoShona Kish, the 21st annual Maple Blues Awards included outstanding performances from The Maple Blues Band ( and Maple Blues Award nominees past and present, including Cécile Doo Kingué, Digging Roots, Matt Andersen, Diana Braithwaite, Donald Ray Johnson, and Colin James.


Performances from the night and the show are available at TBS Youtube channel.

Click here to see photos from the magical evening:

Photo Gallery


The Nominating Panel consists of industry professionals from across Canada who volunteer their time to participate.

Vince Almond CFBX Kamloops BC
Brant Zwicker* At the Crossroads (syndicated) Kamloops BC
Grant Payne Nanaimo Blues Society Nanaimo BC
Rod Dranfield White Rock Blues Society Surrey BC
Brent Morrison Rockin’ Blues (CJSF | CJMP) Vancouver BC
Paul Norton CFRO | CiTR Vancouver BC
Ron Simmonds CFRO Vancouver BC
Cindy McLeod Calgary Blues Music Association | The Blues Witness (CJSW) Calgary AB
Cam Hayden The Friday Night Blues Party (CKUA) Edmonton AB
Chris Martin Saturday Night Blues (CBC) Edmonton AB
Peter North Dead Ends & Detours (CKUA) Edmonton AB
Grant Stovel CJSR | CKUA Edmonton AB
Jeff Corbett Redbeard’s Blues (CJTR) Regina SK
Gord MacAulay Canadian Blues Alliance Saskatoon SK
Al Wood Saskatoon Blues Society Saskatoon SK
Ronnie Lindsay Bluesday on Tuesday (CKUW) Winnipeg MB
Paul Panchezak Breakfast of Champions (CFMU) Hamilton ON
Ken Wallis Blues Blast (The HAWK) Hamilton ON
Claude Cloutier Kitchener Blues Festival Kitchener ON
Bruce Hall Grand River Blues Society Kitchener ON
Larry Kurtz Orangeville Blues & Jazz Festival Orangeville ON
Liz Sykes Ottawa Blues Society Ottawa ON
Deborah Cartmer CFBU St. Catharines ON
John Booth CILU Radio Thunder Bay ON
Bob Halvorsen Thunder Bay Blues Society Thunder Bay ON
Julie Hill Blue Remedy (Radio Regent | Blues and Roots Radio) Toronto ON
Eric Thom Freelance Music Journalist Toronto ON
John Valenteyn* John’s Blues Picks (Maple Blues) | John Valenteyn’s Blues (CIUT) Toronto ON
Yannick Lambert Donnacona Blues Festival Donnacona QC
Debra Thornington Ottawa Blues Society | Dawg’On Blues (DAWG) Gatineau QC
Alexandre Petit Viree Blues Boreale Hull QC
John Detcheverry Cha Cha In Blue (CKUT) Montreal QC
Daisy Hanna Montreal Blues Society Montreal QC
Phil Brisse Montreal Blues Society Montreal QC
Greg  Torrington The Blues (Stingray Music) Montreal QC
Michel Dubois Rue D’Auteuil (CKRL) Quebec QC
Louis Brunet CKMN Rimouski QC
Jean Sicotte Les Productions Kazou Sutton QC
Bob Mersereau CBC Radio One Fredericton NB
Roger Jean Rosie’s Juke Joint (CHSR) Fredericton NB
Conrad Mead 95.7 The Wolf Fredericton NB
Yanick Theriault Cigare & Whiskey (CFBO) Grand Moncton NB
Sandy MacDonald Freelance Music Journalist Halifax NS
Gene Bellows Blues in the Night (VOBB) Bonne Bay NL
Terry Parsons* Blind Lemon Radio (CHMR) St. John’s NL

*The panel is led by a steering committee consisting of John Valenteyn, Brant Zwicker, Yanick Theriault and Terry Parsons.




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©2019 Toronto Blues Society. Design by Janine Stoll Media.
TBS logo and WBR artwork by Barbara Klunder

The Toronto Blues Society acknowledges the annual support of the Ontario Arts Council, the City of Toronto through the Toronto Arts Council and the Department of Canadian Heritage, and project support from FACTOR< and the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage (Canada Music Fund) and of Canada’s Private Broadcasters, The Canada Council for the Arts, the SOCAN Foundation, SOCAN, the Ontario Media Development Corporation, and the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport.