Jack de Keyzer, JW-Jones and Samantha Martin Lead the Nominations for the 24th Annual Maple Blues Awards

Despite 2020 being the year that really wasn’t, the Toronto Blues Society continues to support and promote Canadian Blues artists by announcing the nominees for the upcoming 24th Annual Maple Blues Awards. The winners will be announced online from four cities over four nights –February 1, 8, 15, and 22. 

Leading the way in nominations is Toronto’s Jack de Keyzer, who along with his bandmates garnered seven nominations for Entertainer of the Year, Electric Act of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, Recording/Producer of the Year, Guitarist of the Year, Horn Player of the Year (for Richard Thornton) and Bassist of the Year (for Alan Duffy).

Ottawa’s JW-Jones and his band(s) are nominated in five categories including Entertainer of the Year, Electric Act of the Year, New Artist of the Year (for Jones’ second project HOROJO Trio), Recording/Producer of the Year and Guitarist of the Year. Toronto’s Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar have been nominated for four Maple Blues Awards in the categories of Entertainer of the Year, Electric Act of the Year, Female Vocalist of the Year and Drummer of the Year (for Dani Nash). The esteemed Blues Booster of the Year Award winner will be announced at a later date.

“The Pandemic has given us a new reason to feel the blues, but fortunately we will honour the latest body of work and artists with trophies and digital celebrations”, says Derek Andrews, President of Toronto Blues Society. “Congratulations to all the nominees.”

Registration and voting for the 24th Annual Maple Blues Awards will be open to the Canadian public from November 2nd at 12AM Eastern Time, through to December 1st, 11:59 PM Eastern Time. Blues fans can register and vote at 

Maple Blues Awards
Maple Blues Awards

The 24th Annual Maple Blues Awards Nominees

 Entertainer of the Year

Dawn Tyler Watson


Jack de Keyzer


Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar

Electric Act of the Year

Dawn Tyler Watson & Ben Racine Band

Jack de Keyzer


Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar

Sue Foley

Acoustic Act of the Year

Adam Karch

Harrison Kennedy

Matt Andersen

Michael Jerome Browne

Rick Fines

Male Vocalist of the Year

Chuck Jackson

Harrison Kennedy

Jack de Keyzer

Jim Byrnes

Matt Andersen

Female Vocalist of the Year

Angel Forrest

Crystal Shawanda

Dawn Tyler Watson

Dione Taylor

Samantha Martin

New Artist of the Year

Dione Taylor

HOROJO Trio (Holmes, Rogers, Jones)

Liam Docherty

Matt Weidinger

Smoke Wagon Blues Band

Recording/Producer of the Year

Crystal Shawanda – Church House Blues / True North (Dewayne Strobel)

Durham County Poets – Hand Me Down Blues / Self (Bill Garrett)

Jack de Keyzer – Tribute / Blue Star (Jack de Keyzer)

JW-Jones – Sonic Departures / Solid Blue (Eric Eggleston)

Smoke Wagon Blues Band – Ballad of Albert Johnson / Self (Steve Sherman)

B.B. King International Artist of the Year

Christone “Kingfish” Ingram

Ghost Town Blues Band

Larkin Poe

Rick Estrin & The Nightcats

Victor Wainwright

Songwriter of the Year

Colin Linden

Crystal Shawanda/Dewayne Strobel

Dione Taylor

Kevin Harvey (Durham County Poets)

Paul Reddick

Blues with a Feeling Award (Lifetime Achievement Award)

Alec Fraser

Brent Parkin

Danny Brooks

Joe Murphy

Ken Whiteley

Michael Fonfara

Tom Lavin

Guitarist of the Year

Garrett Mason

Jack de Keyzer


Sue Foley

Tony D (MonkeyJunk)

Harmonica Player of the Year

Guy Bélanger

Harpdog Brown

Paul Reddick

Roly Platt

Steve Marriner

Piano/Keyboard of the Year

David Vest

Duane Blackburn

Jesse O’Brien

Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne

Michael Kaeshammer

Horn Player of the Year

Jerry Cook (Harpdog Brown)

Mark LeClerc (Fuel Junkie)

Gordon Aeichele (Smoke Wagon Blues Band)

Richard Thornton (Jack de Keyzer Band)

Mat “Moose” Mousseau (Ben Racine Band)

Drummer of the Year

Cory Blackburn

Dani Nash (Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar)

Gary Craig (Colin Linden, Steve Dawson)

Lindsay Beaver

Matt Sobb (MonkeyJunk)

Bassist of the Year

Alan Duffy (Jack de Keyzer)

Alec Fraser

Gary Kendall

John Dymond (Steve Dawson, Big Dave McLean)

Keith Picot

Toronto Blues Society has been receiving valuable input from the members of the Canadian blues community regarding the Maple Blues Awards procedures and voting, and as such, have been developing new policies and protocol to ensure the Maple Blues Award system is responsive and evolving, thanks to the feedback gathered from across Canada.

While getting nominated for a Maple Blues Award is a wonderful achievement and excitement, not all of the nominees are regular users of social media or some may not have the budgets to execute a successful advertising campaign to solicit votes.  In the pursuit of fairness for all of the nominees and transparency, social media advertising by the MBA nominees will now be banned during the public voting period for the 24th annual Maple Blues Awards.

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