Maple Blues Awards hits 20 with gala tonight | 180115Mo | Shows for Monday, January 15, 2022


I was among those who, twenty years ago when it began, were initially pretty skeptical about the actual value of what is now a highly respected and much coveted Maple Blues Award handed out every year by Toronto Blues Society.  Back then there were a lot of happening live Blues bars in Toronto and consequently a lot of internecine politics within the local community that included the goings-on behind the scenes of TBS.

These days, with the live Blues scene a shell of what it was twenty years ago, fans of the 12-bar genre are thankful to have any sort of leg up in the business, and receiving a MBA can make a real difference in terms of getting them festival and house concert gigs, which pretty much are the last ones to pay really well.

Moreover, TBS has done a good job of making these awards a truly national affair, with a 46-member nominating panel that includes representatives of Blues festivals, broadcasters, societies/associations and publications from across the nation, from St. John’s to Kamloops.

Tonight’s twentieth anniversary gala at Koerner Hall, therefore, is definitely something to be celebrated unabashedly, and that process will certainly be helped along by performances by some of TO and Canada’s premier players doing showcase sets with an all-star house band.

Those attending the $35 7 p.m. show in the hall inside The Royal Conservatory building at 273 Bloor St. West (tickets were still available online at press time) will be treated to appearances by Colin James, Matt Andersen, Cécile Doo-Kingué, Donald Ray Johnson, Dina Braithwaite and more, all backed by the renowned Maple Blues Band.

That combo that includes winners of multiple previous awards, is comprised of: Gary Kendall, bass, band leader & musical director; Michael Fonfara, organ & piano; Tom Bona, drums; Teddy Leonard, electric & acoustic guitar; Pat Carey, tenor saxophone; Al Lerman, tenor saxophone, harmonica & acoustic guitar; Chris Murphy, baritone saxophone; and Howard Moore on trumpet. There’s also an “after party” headlined by Bad Luck Woman & Her Misfortunes.

The originals of the Blues may be about crying in your beer, but tonight’s attendees at the awards gala will more likely be smiling while sipping wine and good liquor.

-Gary 17.  [email protected] [email protected]

SHOW LISTINGS for Monday, January 15, 2022

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*6> “Underplayed and Underpaid” interviews and performances by Guelph area bands on CFRU 93.3 FM broadcast and online

6> “Soundcheck with Sabrina” with Sabrina Fallah @ Jungle 77.3 & online at ~eclectic tracks, interviews etc.


10am-4pm> Ontario Blues Forum @ Holiday Inn Downtown, 30 Carlton St. ~disccussions, workshops; $

6> Jon Brooks @ Cameron House (front), 408 Queen St. W. ~songwriter

6:30> U of T Jazz Ensembles @ The Rex, 194 Queen St. W. ~Jazz; $

**7-1 (sign-up at 7, show starts 7:30)> open stage with host Wayne Neon Smith @ Free Times Café, 320 College St.

*7-10> open stage with Brad Scott @ Lola, 40 Kensington Ave.

7-10:30> Maple Blues Awards gala with Colin James; Cecile Doo-Kingué; Matt Andersen; Diana Braithwaite; Donald Ray Johnson; Bad Luck Woman & Her Misfortunes + all-star Maple Blues Band house band @ Koerner Hall, 273 Bloor St. W. ~original Blues; $35

**8> Music City North open mic with host Don Myers @ Rose & Crown, 2335 Yonge St.

8> Ukulele jam @ Tranzac Lounge (Main Hall), 292 Brunswick Ave.

8:30> Jessica Speziale; more @ Horseshoe Tavern, 370 Queen St. W. ~original Rock/Pop; $0

**9-1:30> jam with host Sam Sundar-Singh @ Grossman’s, 379 Spadina Ave.

*9:30> open mic with Mark Villamor @ Amsterdam Bicycle Club, 54 The Esplanade

9:30> Chelsea McBride’s Socialist Night School @ The Rex, 194 Queen St. W. ~Jazz; $

10> Jordan John @ The Orbit Room, 580 College St. ~R&B/Blues; $

**10> open mic (2 songs; sign-up starts 8 p.m.) with host Sarah Greene @ Tranzac Lounge (Southern Cross), 292 Brunswick Ave.

10> Quique Escamilla @ Cameron House (front), 408 Queen St. W.

10-2> Dan Gagnon; Jake Saenz @ The Hideout, 423 College St.


7-10> Smokey Folk @ Relish, 2152 Danforth Ave. ~Bluegrass; 0$

7:30> “Revolution Mondays” with host Lindsay Coleman & guest feature Running Red Lights @ The Old Nick, 123 Danforth Ave. ~songwriters; 0$

*8:45-12> Riverboat Mondays acoustic open stage jam with Tyler Ellis @ Dora Keogh, 141 Danforth Ave.

*9-12> The Out of Towners @ Sauce on Danforth, 1376 Danforth Ave.

9-2> Tom Waits Appreciation Congregation @ Linsmore Tavern, 1298 Danforth Ave. ~Tom Waits tribute; 0$

*9:30-2> Sebastian Agnello & friends open stage @ Black Swan Tavern, 154 Danforth Ave.; 0$


*8-12> Al Reilly’s Catalyst host Rock jam @ Rockpile, 5555 Dundas St. W.


*8-12> open stage with Dan Walek @ McGradie’s, 2167 Victoria Park Ave.

*8-12> open jam with Halfway Home @ Newfoundlander Tavern, 472 Danforth Road


5-8> Chelsea McBride Trio @ Gate 403, 403 Roncesvalles Ave. ~Jazz

7> George Crotty & Kirk Stanley @ The Emmet Ray, 924 College St. ~Jazz; pwyc

8> Rose Jones; Substrata; Talking In Our Sleep; Whiplash; Girlchild @ Smiling Buddha Stage 1, 961 College St. ~indie; $

*8> open mic/jam @ The Wicket Pub, 1671 Bloor St. W.

8:30> Christo Graham @ Burdock, 1184 Bloor St. W.

9-12> Tim Hamel Trio & guest @ Gate 403, 403 Roncesvalles Ave. ~Jazz

*9-1> Hamstrung Stringband @ The Local, 396 Roncesvalles Ave. ~Bluegrass

*9-1> eclectic open stage/jam with host Nelson Sobral @ The Painted Lady, 218 Ossington Ave.

9:30> Matt Woroshyl Quartet @ The Emmet Ray, 924 College St. ~Jazz; pwyc

10> Good Enough Live Karaoke Band @ Drake Hotel Lounge, 1150 Queen St. W. ~karaoke with live band

*10> open mic with host Liam Kearney @ The Hole In The Wall, 2867 Dundas St. W.


*5> open mic with Dennis Napper @ Rhapsody Barrel Bar, 179 King St. W., Kitchener

*7:30-12> open mic with Anthony Schmanthony @ The Cornerstone, 1 Wyndham St. N., Guelph

*8-12> open stage @ The Boathouse, 57 Jubilee Drive, Kitchener

9:30> Turk and the Hobbits @ Duke of Wellington, 33 Erb St. W., Waterloo


*7> Gailie & Friends @ Black Horse Pub, 452 George St. N., Peterborough

8-12> jam night with Rob Drake @ Sticky Fingers Dunlop, 199 Essa Rd.

905 EAST

6> Rob Phillips @ Arthur’s Pub, 930 Burnham St., Cobourg ~Jazz

*8-11> open stage @ Simcoe Blues & Jazz, 926 Simcoe St. N., Oshawa


8-11> open mic @ The Barrel, 2180 Steeles Ave. W., Vaughan

9:25-1:05> jam/open stage with backline @ Sneakers Uptown, 18025 Yonge St., Newmarket


6> Michael Wainwright & Rick Labrie @ Innsville, 1141 Highway 8, Stoney Creek

6:30>> Greensville Guitar Pickers jam @ Greensville Branch Library, 59 Kirby Ave., Hamilton

*8> The New Rebel Westerners @ Cat ‘n’ Fiddle, 174 John St. S., Hamilton ~Country

905 WEST

5> Chris Chambers @ SB Prime, 300 Brant St., Burlington ~acoustic Pop covers & originals

*7-10> open mic with Chris Partland @ 5 West Brewpub, 3600 Dundas St. W., Burlington

*7-10> The Dirty Pioneers @ Shoeless Joe’s Brant (patio), 1250 Brant St., Burlington ~Rock/Top 40 covers

**8-12> BBQ & jam night with Catherine Harrison @ Moonshine Café, 137 Kerr St., Oakville; ($8.95 with BBQ dinner special starts at 6)

9> Fiddlestix Duo @ Roc’n Doc’s, 105 Lakeshore Rd. E., Port Credit ~fiddle Rock

*9:30-1> jam with Tom Barlow @ Shore Grill, 71 Lakeshore Rd. E., Port Credit


Listings are organized by area in which the shows occur and within each area field shows are listed chronologically.

Listings preceded by an asterisk (*) are repeating weekly events. (Double asterisk indicates repeating event with different hosts/guest/etc.). Events preceded by question mark (?) usually take place but have not been confirmed. Admission prices followed by a slash and minus (/-) after the amount indicates door charge with availability of cheaper rates for some purchases. /+ indicates stated price is minimum.

-Copyright © 2018 by Gary “17” Webb-Proctor & All Rights Reserved