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2011 Maple Blues Award Winners

Shakura S'Aida (photo Bill King)

Canadian blues artists from coast-to-coast were well represented at the 14th Annual Maple Blues Awards gala in Toronto last night as a sold-out crowd of blues lovers gathered to celebrate Canadian Blues at Koerner Hall.

Ottawa’s Monkey Junk took the lead with three wins, including Electric Act of the Year, Harmonica Player of the Year (Steve Marriner) and Drummer of the Year (Matt Sobb). East Coast blues giant Matt Andersen walked away with two Maple Blues Awards for Entertainer of the Year and Acoustic Act of the Year. Another young East Coast bluesman, Garrett Mason, took home the Guitar Player of the Year award.

Hamilton’s Rita Chiarelli was presented the Blues With A Feeling Award (lifetime achievement) by Frederic Lamoureux from the Montreal Jazz Festival and the president of legendary blues label Alligator Records, Bruce Iglauer. Chiarelli, who has been dubbed the “goddess of Canadian blues”, received the award for her long and vibrant career as one of the premier female blues musicians in Canada.

Following a moving tribute video Hamilton native, Richard Newell a.k.a King Biscuit Boy received a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding contribution to the blues in Canada and internationally, accepted by his son Richard Oddie and brother Randy Waller.

Other highlights include Female Vocalist of the Year for Toronto’s Shakura S’Aida, an internationally recognized singer whose performance earlier in the evening had the audience spellbound. The award was presented by popular CBC personality George Stroumboulopoulos and MBA winner Matt Andersen, who also presented Recording of the Year to Toronto’s Downchild.

Matt Andersen (photo: Bill King)

Matt Andersen (photo: Bill King)

Toronto’s Julian Fauth was presented the award for Keyboard Player of the Year by legendary blues keyboard player Curley Bridges: and Dave Booth, a.k.a Daddy Cool, now back on the air waves at Whistle FM. Keith Picot, of the Vancouver based band The Twisters was presented with Bassist of the Year by Montreal blues singer Dawn Tyler Watson and Bill Wax, host of XM Radio’s popular program Bluesville.

The Blues Booster of the Year award, a very special Maple Blues Award honouring outstanding contribution to the Canadian blues music industry was awarded to Gord MacAulay, Chair of the Saskatoon Blues Festival and a long time serving board member of the Saskatoon Blues Society.

The Maple Blues Awards gala featured outstanding performances from winners and nominees Jack de Keyzer, Tom Lavin, Matt Andersen, Shakura S’Aida and Dawn Tyler Watson, all backed by The Maple Blues Band.

Now in its 25th year, The Toronto Blues Society is a non profit membership organization dedicated to the promotion and preservation of the Blues. The Maple Blues Awards is Canada’s national blues awards program. Its goal is to promote blues music across Canada, and to recognize outstanding achievement in the field.

Rita Chiarelli (photo: Bill King)

Winners of the 14th Annual Maple Blues Awards:

ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR
Matt Andersen

ELECTRIC ACT OF THE YEAR
Monkey Junk

ACOUSTIC ACT OF THE YEAR
Matt Andersen

MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR
John Mays

FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR
Shakura S’Aida

NEW ARTIST OR GROUP OF THE YEAR
Mike “Shrimp Daddy” Reid

RECORDING OF THE YEAR

Downchild / I Need A Hat / Linus
Producer – Don Walsh

BLUES WITH A FEELING (Lifetime Achievement)
Rita Chiarelli

BB KING INTERNATIONAL ARTIST OF THE YEAR
Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi Band

GUITAR PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Garrett Mason

HARMONICA PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Steve Marriner

PIANO/KEYBOARD PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Julian Fauth

HORN PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Chris Whiteley

DRUMMER OF THE YEAR
Matt Sobb

BASSIST OF THE YEAR
Keith Picot

SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR
Paul Reddick & Colin Linden

BLUES BOOSTER OF THE YEAR
Gord MacAulay

SPECIAL LIFETIME ACHIEVMENT AWARD
Richard Newell

Thanks to Sarah French Publicity and the Toronto Blues Society for providing this bulletin.

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