Toronto Blues Society | » 23rd Annual Maple Blues Awards

23rd Annual Maple Blues Awards

Nominees and Winners Event Details Nominating Panel Photos

Nominees and Winners

Congratulations to everyone who won at this year’s Maple Blues Awards! Winner names are highlighted as * WINNER in the nominee list below.

*Click on the names to start listening!

Entertainer of the Year

Dawn Tyler Watson
Downchild Blues Band – WINNER!
Miss Emily
Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar
Sue Foley

Electric Act of the Year

Colin James – WINNER!
Jack de Keyzer
Paul DesLauriers Band
Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar
Sue Foley

Acoustic Act of the Year

Big Dave McLean 
Harry Manx
Manx Marriner Mainline
Matt Andersen – WINNER!
Michael Jerome Browne

Male Vocalist of the Year

Harpdog Brown
Harrison Kennedy
Matt Andersen – WINNER!
Steve Marriner
Steve Strongman

Female Vocalist of the Year

Angel Forrest
Dawn Tyler Watson
Miss Emily – WINNER!
Samantha Martin
Shakura S’Aida

New Artist of the Year

Bywater Call
Durham County Poets
Matchedash Parish
Miss Emily – WINNER!
Robert Connely Farr

Recording/Producer of the Year

Colin Linden & Luther Dickinson – Amour (Stony Plain); Producer: Colin Linden
Dawn Tyler Watson – Mad Love (Self); Producers: Francois Thiffault & Dawn Tyler Watson – WINNER!
Harpdog BrownFor Love & Money (Dog House); Producer: Steve Dawson
Matchedash ParishSaturday Night (Make It Real); Producer: Lance Anderson
Matt AndersenHalfway Home By Morning (True North); Producer: Steve Dawson

B.B. King International Artist of the Year

Buddy Guy – WINNER!
Chirstone “Kingfish” Ingram
Ghost Town Blues Band
Larkin Poe
Mavis Staples

Songwriter of the Year

Big Dave McLean
Colin Linden
Dawn Tyler Watson – WINNER!
Robert Connely Farr
Sue Foley

Blues with a Feeling Award (Lifetime Achievement Award)

Alec Fraser
Brent Parkin
Danny Brooks
Joe Murphy
Ken Whiteley
Michael Fonfara
Michael Jerome Browne – WINNER!
Tom Lavin

Guitarist of the Year

Anthony Gomes
Garrett Mason
Jack de Keyzer
Paul DesLauriers – WINNER!
Sue Foley 

Harmonica Player of the Year

Al Lerman
Harpdog Brown – WINNER! (TIE!)
Jim Zeller
Roly Platt 
Steve Marriner – WINNER! (TIE!)

Piano/Keyboard of the Year

David Vest
Duane Blackburn
Jenie Thai
Jesse O’ Brien
Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne – WINNER!

Horn Player of the Year

Chris Whiteley – WINNER! (TIE!)
Kaven Jalbert (Ben Racine Band)
Loretta Hale (Andre Bisson Band)
Mat “Moose” Mousseau (Ben Racine Band) – WINNER! (TIE!)
Richard Thornton (Jack de Keyzer)

Drummer of the Year

Chris Nordquist (Steve Kozak, Cannery Row)
Gary Craig (Colin Linden, Steve Dawson)
Lindsay Beaver 
Sam Harrisson (Paul DesLauriers Band)
Tom Bona (Sue Foley) – WINNER!

Bassist of the Year

Alec Fraser
Alec McElcheran (Paul DesLauriers Band) – WINNER!
Gary Kendall
Keith Picot
Leigh-Anne Stanton (Wicked Grin)


We are thrilled to announce Brian Blain as the Blues Booster of the Year award recipient, a very special Maple Blues Award honouring outstanding contribution to the Canadian blues music industry.


Event Details

On Monday, February 4th 2020, the gala evening for the 23rd Maple Blues Awards at Koerner Hall celebrated artists from coast-to-coast and featured rousing performances from nominees. Three artists took home two awards – Kingston’s Miss Emily won awards for Female Vocalist of the Year and New Artist of the Year, New Brunswick’s Matt Andersen took home trophies for Male Vocalist of the Year and Acoustic Act of the Year while Montreal’s Dawn Tyler Watson was awarded Recording/Producer of the Year and Songwriter of the Year.

For only the second time in Maple Blues Awards history, there were tied winners in two categories – Harpdog Brown and Steve Marriner both won Harmonica Player of the Year and Chris Whiteley and Mat “Moose” Mousseau each won the award for Horn Player of the Year. The Blues with a Feeling Award (Lifetime Achievement Award) was awarded to Montreal-based Michael Jerome Browne, whose long and illustrious career has seen him tour around the world, recording seven albums and guesting on countless others, and recently was nominated for Blues Album of the Year at the upcoming JUNO Awards. Also honoured for a long career dedicated to the preservation and promotion of blues music was Toronto Blues Society’s own Brian Blain, who received the Blues Booster of the Year Award.

A new addition to the Maple Blues Awards program is the inaugural Sapphire Video Award. Sapphire has one single category and both live performance and staged production/interpretive videos were accepted. The winner of the Sapphire Video Award was Miss Emily for her video for “Hold Back The River” with the runners up announced as Terra Hazelton for her video for “Anybody’s Baby” and Lucas Haneman Express for their video for the song “Ms. McGrim”. The winning artist received a cash prize of $1,500 while the two runners up each received $250.

A collaboration between The Toronto Blues Society and Paul Reddick, the sixth annual COBALT Prize for Contemporary Blues Composition Award is to promote blues music through exploration of its form. The winning composition was judged on its ability to creatively utilize blues traditions within the broad contemporary musical landscape. The winner of the Cobalt Prize for Contemporary Blues Composition was Rich Junco for his song “Cope”, while the first runner up was Bad Luck Woman & Her Misfortunes for their song “Cruel Thing” and a tied win for the second runner up was Joe Nolan for “Paranoia Day 36 Blues” and Loryn Taggart for “In My Company”. A cash prize of $1000 was presented to the winner and the runners up each received $250.

The 23rd annual Maple Blues Awards not only featured heart-warming moments and great speeches from the winners, but the audience was treated to exciting performances from Big Dave McLean, Matchedash Parish, Miss Emily, Dawn Tyler Watson, Michael Jerome Browne, and the evening’s hostess Raha Javanfar (Bad Luck Woman) with special guests, students from The Regent Park School of Music, all backed by the awards house band The Maple Blues Band.

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
Al Forrie Hornby Island Blues Society Hornby Island 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
Holger Petersen Stony Plain Records 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 Festival 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
Stevie Connor Blues and Roots Radio Mississauga ON
Andrew Galloway Electro-Fi Records Toronto ON
Lori Murray Music By The Bay Uxbridge ON
Nick Harding Photographer Wasaga Beach ON
Lee Evans Bluewater Blues Show, 91.3 FM Hanover ON
Bill King Beaches Jazz Festival, CIUT FM, FYI Music, Photographer Toronto ON
John Emms Freelance Music Writer Timmins ON
Rick Clarke Bruce County Blues Society Kincardine ON
Kris Kane Southside Shuffle Festival Mississauga ON
Jan MacDonald Downtown Kingston Limestone City Blues Festival Kingston ON
Diane Keye-Kohoko The Afternoon Drive Time, CKRZ 100.3 FM Ohsweken 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
René Moisan Bros Inc. Montreal QC
Greg Torrington The Blues (Stingray Music) Montreal QC
Michel Dubois Rue D’Auteuil (CKRL) Quebec QC
David Bush Royal Blues with Dr. Dave, K103.7 Kahnawake QC
Dave Brennan Ottawa Blues Society Gatineau QC
David McCabe Montreal Blues Society St.-Urbain Premier QC
Louis Brunet CKMN Rimouski QC
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
Bruce Morel Music Marketing International Inc. Dartmouth NS
Cathy Prothro East Coast Blues Society Dartmouth 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.


Donate Join TBS Volunteer

©2024 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.