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 www.mapleblues.ca.
The 24th Annual Maple Blues Awards Nominees
Entertainer of the Year
Electric Act of the Year
Dawn Tyler Watson & Ben Racine Band
Acoustic Act of the Year
Male Vocalist of the Year
Female Vocalist of the Year
New Artist of the Year
HOROJO Trio (Holmes, Rogers, Jones)
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
Songwriter of the Year
Crystal Shawanda/Dewayne Strobel
Kevin Harvey (Durham County Poets)
Blues with a Feeling Award (Lifetime Achievement Award)
Guitarist of the Year
Harmonica Player of the Year
Piano/Keyboard of the Year
Horn Player of the Year
Gordon Aeichele (Smoke Wagon Blues Band)
Richard Thornton (Jack de Keyzer Band)
Mat “Moose” Mousseau (Ben Racine Band)
Drummer of the Year
Dani Nash (Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar)
Gary Craig (Colin Linden, Steve Dawson)
Bassist of the Year
John Dymond (Steve Dawson, Big Dave McLean)
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.