Women Dominate the 22nd Annual Maple Blues Award Nominees

October 30, 2018

Sue Foley and Colin James each earn six nominations



For Immediate Release: October 30th, 2018


(Toronto) – 2017/2018 has proven to be a banner year for female Canadian blues artists from coast-to-coast, as the nominees for the 22nd annual Maple Blues Awards have been announced.  


Leading the pack of hard-working blues women is Sue Foley with nominations in six categories including Entertainer of the Year, Electric Act of the Year, Female Vocalist of the Year, Recording/Producer of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, and Guitarist of the Year. 


Toronto’s Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar are close behind with nominations in four categories including Entertainer of the Year, Female Vocalist of the Year, Recording/Producer of the Year, and Songwriter of the Year. Other notable female nominees are Dawn Tyler Watson for Entertainer of the Year and Female Vocalist of the Year, Angel Forrest and Crystal Shawanda for Female Vocalist of the Year, Deb Rhymer and Emily Burgess for New Artist of the Year, Jenie Thai for Piano/Keyboard Player of the Year, Shirley Jackson for Horn Player of the Year, Lindsay Beaver for Drummer of the Year and Laura Greenberg and Leigh-Anne Stanton for Bassist of the Year.


Last year’s big winner was Vancouver’s Colin James, who has nominations in six categories including Entertainer of the Year, Electric Act of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, Recording/Producer of the Year, Songwriter of the Year and Guitarist of the Year. Ottawa’s 2018 JUNO Award winners MonkeyJunk received four nods for Entertainer of the Year, Electric Act of the Year, Harmonica Player of the Year for Steve Marriner and Drummer of the Year for Matt Sobb.


The Maple Blues Award going to the Blues Booster of the Year will be selected by the Toronto Blues Society Board of Directors and announced in advance of the Koerner Hall gala.



The 22nd Annual Maple Blues Award Nominees


Entertainer of the Year

Colin James

Dawn Tyler Watson


Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar

Sue Foley


Electric Act of the Year

Colin James



Paul DesLauriers Band

Sue Foley


Acoustic Act of the Year

Big Dave McLean

Earle & Coffin

Michael Jerome Browne

Rob Lutes

Tim Williams


Male Vocalist of the Year

Colin James

Harrison Kennedy

Jon Knight (Soulstack)

Matt Andersen

Rob Lutes


Female Vocalist of the Year

Angel Forrest

Crystal Shawanda

Dawn Tyler Watson

Samantha Martin

Sue Foley


New Artist of the Year

Cootes Paradise

Dan Doiron

Deb Rhymer

Elliott & The Audio Kings

Emily Burgess


Recording/Producer of the Year

Colin James - Miles to Go / True North (Colin James & Dave Meszaros)

Jack de Keyzer - Checkmate / Blue Star (Jack de Keyzer)

Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar - Run to Me / Gypsy Soul (Darcy Yates)

Sue Foley - The Ice Queen / Stony Plain (Mike Flanigan)

Sugar Brown - It's A Blues World / Self (Sugar Brown)


B.B. King International Artist of the Year

Buddy Guy

Ghost Town Blues Band

Mavis Staples

Rick Estrin & The Nightcats

Shemekia Copeland


Songwriter of the Year

Colin James

David Vest

Ken Kawashima (Sugar Brown)

Samantha Martin / Curtis Chaffey

Sue Foley


Blues with a Feeling Award (Lifetime Achievement Award)

Alec Fraser

Brent Parkin

Danny Brooks

Ellen McIlwaine

Joe Murphy

Ken Whiteley

Michael Fonfara

Michael Jerome Browne

Tom Lavin


Guitarist of the Year

Colin James

Jack de Keyzer

Jack Semple

Steve Hill

Sue Foley


Harmonica Player of the Year

Carlos del Junco

Guy Bélanger

Harpdog Brown

Roly Platt (Matt Minglewood)

Steve Marriner (MonkeyJunk)


Piano/Keyboard Player of the Year

David Vest

Jenie Thai

Jesse O'Brien

Kenny "Blues Boss" Wayne

Michael Kaeshammer


Horn Player of the Year

Chris Whiteley

Jon Wong

Mat “Moose” Mousseau (Ben Racine Band)

Richard Thornton (Jack de Keyzer)

Shirley Jackson


Drummer of the Year

Gary Craig (Colin Linden, Steve Dawson)

Lindsay Beaver

Matt Sobb (MonkeyJunk)

Sam Harrisson (Paul DesLauriers Band)

Tom Bona


Bassist of the Year

Gary Kendall (Downchild & Mighty Duck Blues Band)

Keith Picot (Brandon Isaak)

Laura Greenberg (JW-Jones)

Leigh-Anne Stanton (Wicked Grin)

Russell Jackson (Kenny "Blues Boss" Wayne)


Online voting is open from November 1st, 2018 at 12:01 am Newfoundland Daylight Time. Canadian blues fans can vote online in the eligible categories until December 1st, at 11:59 pm Pacific Standard Time. Register at www.mapleblues.ca.


The 22nd annual Maple Blues Awards will be hosted by Raoul Bhaneja, an actor and 20-year veteran of the Canadian blues scene. The Maple Blues Awards will be held on February 4, 2019. The gala event is considered to be the premier blues event of the year.  Tickets for the Maple Blues Awards are available online at rcmusic.com or at the Koerner Hall box office (The Weston Family Box Office, located in The Royal Conservatory building at 273 Bloor Street West, Toronto) or by phone at (416) 408-0208. TBS Charter Members can benefit from the ongoing exclusive pre-sale and purchase best available seats for a discounted price, $35.


Koerner Hall is The Royal Conservatory’s 1,135-seat performance venue. It is beloved for its architectural beauty and architectural acoustic excellence. Since opening, it has hosted hundreds of concerts and events reaching more than one million individuals around the world. Koerner Hall is celebrating its 10th anniversary season in 2018-19. To learn more or purchase tickets, please visit rcmusic.com/performance. 

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