GTA Blues talent assembling for 18th Maple Blues Awards gala tonight

Irene Torres is among the acts nominated for New Artist Of The Year -pic: Gary 17

Irene Torres is among the acts nominated for New Artist Of The Year -pic: Gary 17


It’s hard to believe it’s now been almost twenty years since the inaugural (and at the time somewhat controversial!) Maple Blues Awards ceremony put on by the Toronto Blues Society.

Tonight’s 18th annual edition of the show at The Royal Conservatory (273 Bloor St. W. in the Telus Centre) will feature entertainment by GTA performers such as Danny Marks and Downchild Blues Band and is likely to be attended by many of the plethora of TO-area acts among those nominated from across Canada.

In addition to Marks and Downchild, Angel Forrest, Brandon Isaak, Harpdog Brown, Steve Hill and Joel Johnson will take to the stage backed by the all-star Maple Blues Band of mostly local players, some also among those nominated for an award.

Tickets for the 7 p.m. dinner, show and awards presentations start at $28 and can be purchased online through the TBS website.

Here is the list of this year’s nominees:

Entertainer of the Year
The 24th Street Wailers

Raoul & The Big Time
Steve Hill
Steve Strongman

Electric Act of the Year

Jack de Keyzer
Steve Hill
Steve Strongman

Acoustic Act of the Year
Adam Karch

Big Dave McLean
Brandon Isaak
Harrison Kennedy
Michael Jerome Browne

Male Vocalist of the Year
Chuck Jackson (Downchild)

Harrison Kennedy
Jon Knight (Soulstack)
Matt Andersen
Steve Marriner (MonkeyJunk)

Female Vocalist of the Year
Angel Forrest

Dawn Tyler Watson
Diana Braithwaite
Shakura S’Aida
Suzie Vinnick

New Artist or Group of the Year
Irene Torres & The Sugar Devils

Joel Johnson Band
Jordan Officer
Sean Pinchin
Wicked Grin

B.B. King International Artist of the Year
Beth Hart

Elvin Bishop
Janiva Magness
Johnny Winter
Mavis Staples 

Recording/Producer of the Year
Brandon Isaak Here On Earth Self; Producer: Chris Isaak

Downchild Can You Hear the Music Linus; Producer: Don Walsh
JW-Jones Belmont Boulevard Blind Pig; Producer: Tom Hambridge
Raoul and the Big Time Hollywood Blvd.; Big Time Producer: Raoul Bhaneja
Steve Hill Solo Recordings Vol. 2 No Label; Producer: Steve Hill

Songwriter of the Year
Angel Forrest

Brandon Isaak
Harrison Kennedy
Raoul Bhaneja
Ray Bonneville

Blues with a Feeling Award (Lifetime Achievement Award)
Diana Braithwaite

Alec Fraser
Danny Brooks
Ellen McIlwaine
Joe Murphy
Ken Whiteley
Michael Fonfara
Stephen Barry
Tom Lavin
Michael Jerome Browne
Brent Parkin
Nanette Workman
Theresa Malenfant

 Instrumental Categories

Guitar Player of the Year

Paul DesLauriers
Steve Dawson
Steve Hill
Steve Strongman

Harmonica Player of the Year
Dave “Hurricane” Hoerl

Guy Bélanger
Harpdog Brown
Jerome Godboo
Steve Marriner (MonkeyJunk)

Piano or Keyboard Player of the Year
David “The Groove Doctor” McMorrow (Jack de Keyzer)

David Vest
Julian Fauth
Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne
Lance Anderson

Horn Player of the Year
Al Lerman

Chris Whiteley
Jon Wong
Pat Carey
Richard Thornton

Drummer of the Year
Bucky Berger (Fathead)

Lindsay Beaver (The 24th Street Wailers)
Matt Sobb (MonkeyJunk)
Sam Harrisson (Paul DesLauriers Band)
Tom Bona (Soulstack; Raoul & The Big Time)

Bassist of the Year
Alan Duffy (Jack de Keyzer)

Alec Fraser
Greg Morency (Paul DesLauriers Band)
Keith Picot (Brandon Isaak)
Omar Tunnoch (Fathead)

-Gary 17,