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Get to know the musicians nominated for the Maple Blues Awards’ musician categories


Nominees for the Maple Blues Awards were announced on Nov. 3, and each year, several categories are devoted to the mastery of the core blues instruments: guitar, bass, drums, horns, harmonica and keys.

Many of the nominees for these awards spend most of the time in the shadows of the people they play with, backing up acts like Sue Foley and Jack de Keyzer or holding down the rhythm section in Downchild, without ever getting much time in the spotlight.

So this year at Roots Music Canada, we decided to devote a feature just to them.

Here are the nominees for the six musician categories at the Maple Blues Awards with audio or videos that showcase their work.

The Maple Blues Awards will be handed out Jan. 31 at Koerner Hall in Toronto. We’ll feature more of the nominees later this week.


Guitarist of the Year

David Gogo

Garrett Mason

Jack de Keyser

Sue Foley

Tony D

Harmonica Player of the Year

David Rotundo

Guy Bélanger

Harpdog Brown

Roly Platt

Steve Marriner (performing here with David Gogo)


Piano/Keyboard Player of the Year

David Vest

Duane Blackburn

Jesse O’Brien (heard here on Colin James’ new album)

Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne

Lance Anderson


Horn Player of the Year

Alison Young

Chris Whiteley

Mat “Moose” Mousseau (performing here with Dawn Tyler Watson)

Mike Clark

Richard Thornton (seen here performing with Jack de Deyzer)

Drummer of the Year

Tom Bona (seen performing here with Sue Foley)

Gary Craig (playing here with Rick Fines)

Jim Casson (performing here as a member of the Mighty Duck Blues Band)

Lindsay Beaver

Lindsay is known for her work with her band the 24th Street Wailers and also as a solo artist.

Matt Sobb (heard here with Tony D.)

Bassist of the Year

Alan Duffy of Jack de Keyzer’s band

Alec Fraser

Alec’s 50-year career has seen him perform with legends like Bo Diddley and Ben. E King and Canadian artists like Jeff Healey, Randy Bachman, Rick Fines, Jimmy Bowskill, Powder Blues Band, Downchild and Newfoundland singer-songwriter Ron Hynes. The video below is from Alec’s recent solo project.

Alec McElcheran

Alec is a staple of the Quebec blues scene, performing with acts like Paul Deslauriers, Angel Forrest, Bob Walsh, Guy Belanger and Dawn Tyler Watson.

Gary Kendall of Downchild

Keith Picot

Keith is known for his work with bands such as the Twisters and Cousin Harley. This video features an original song performed in the Netherlands with the Roots Brothers.



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