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21st Annual Maple Blues Awards
January 15 2018
TELUS Centre For The Performing Arts, Koerner Hall Royal - Conservatory Of Music
Once again the Toronto Blues Society held their annual Maple Blues Awards Event at the Koerner Hall in downtown Toronto on Monday January 15.
The MBA’s are Canada’s National Blues Awards Program – Promoting blues music across Canada, and recognizing outstanding achievement in the field.
It was a fast paced show before a full house, with a number of artists performing between the award announcements, backed by the Maple Blues Band.
The Maple Blues Band is made up a stellar cast of seasoned blues artists:
Gary Kendall: Bass, Music Director, and Band Leader
Michael Fonfara: Hammond B3 & Grand Piano
Teddy Leonard: Lead Guitar
Tom Bona: Drums
Al Lerman: Harmonica, Tenor Sax, and Acoustic Guitar
Pat Carey: Tenor Sax
Chris Murphy: Baritone Sax
Howard Moore: Trumpet
As you will see below the west was well represented in this year's event. Colin James led the charge, receiving three awards with Big Dave McLean, David Vest, and White Rock Blues Society co founder Jason Buie each being acknowledged for their talent.

Colin James The Big Winner At Maple Blues Awards

Jan 16, 2018 by FYI Staff
Colin James was the big winner at the 21st annual Maple Blues Awards in Toronto on Monday night. The Vancouver-based blues-rocker was the only multiple award winner at Koerner Hall, earning trophies in the categories of Electric Act, Recording/Producer, and Guitarist of the Year.
New faces honoured with awards including multiple nominee Hamilton’s Harrison Kennedy for Songwriter of the Year, Ottawa’s Laura Greenberg for Bassist of the Year and Victoria’s Jason Buie for New Artist of the Year.
The Blues With A Feeling Award for lifetime achievement was awarded to Toronto-based Diana Braithwaite for her longtime career and commitment to blues music in Canada, while musicologist, professor, and writer Rob Bowman was presented with the Blues Booster of the Year award honouring his outstanding contribution to the Canadian blues scene.
The fourth annual Cobalt Prize Contemporary Blues Composition Award was also announced at the gala.  Joe Nolan was the winner of the $1K cash prize for his song "All You’ve Got To Do, " with runners-up Conor Gains for his song "Walking Alone," and Miss Emily for her composition "Hold Back The River" that came with a cash prize of $250 apiece.
The Awards were hosted by ShoShona Kish of Digging Roots. That group performed, alongside Donald Ray Johnson, Cécile Doo-Kingué, Diana Braithwaite, Matt Andersen (with surprise guest Steve Hill), and Colin James, who closed the show with guest Steve Marriner of MonkeyJunk. All were backed by The Maple Blues Band.
Here is the full list of winners of the 21st Annual Maple Blues Awards
Entertainer of the Year - Paul DesLauriers Band
Electric Act of the Year - Colin James
Acoustic Act of the Year - Big Dave McLean
Male Vocalist of the Year - Matt Andersen
Female Vocalist of the Year - Angel Forrest
New Artist of the Year - Jason Buie
Recording/Producer of the Year - Colin James – Blue Highways (True North); Producers: Colin James & Dave Meszaros
B.B. King International Artist of the Year - Joe Bonamassa
Songwriter of the Year - Harrison Kennedy
Blues with a Feeling Award (Lifetime Achievement Award) - Diana Braithwaite
Guitarist of the Year - Colin James
Harmonica Player of the Year - Guy Bélanger
Piano/Keyboard of the Year - David Vest
Horn Player of the Year - Jon Wong
Drummer of the Year - Matt Sobb (MonkeyJunk)
Bassist of the Year - Laura Greenberg (JW-Jones)
Blues Booster of the Year - Rob Bowman








In the Month of May 2017

the White Rock Blues Society  celebrated its 10th Anniversary.


Blues Challenge Results


 All the players were great and our three judges had their work cut out for them. Using the same criteria that is employed in Memphis at the International Blues Challenge the arrived at the consensus that Brandon Isaak and Chip Hart are going to Memphis along with Harpdog Brown
Thanks goes out to the many volunteers, the judges, our emcee Jason Buie who organized the acts and all the blues fans for supporting the event.
Most of thanks to all the musicians who participated. We have a lot of talent in our Province.

Since the International Blues Challenge started doing two first round nights then a semi final before the finals at the Orpheum Theatre we have had all our sponsored acts except one make the semi finals and one act made it to the finals. This is one of the best track records for a blues society out of a list of hundreds of societies around the world.
Support your local blues artists.


Pacific Inn Resort
1060 King George Blvd.

Take the elevator Home

Also ask about the reduced Guest Room Rates
for WRBS event attendees.

604 535 1432
Toll Free: 1-800-667-2248


Rodney Dranfield (President WRBS) 


Its had been six years since our first local IBC Event was held at the Rhumba Room to identify a solo/duo act to a attend the annual International Blues Challenge put on by the Blues Foundation in Memphis. 

That was 2010 and Vancouver duo Mud Dog was selected. The following year it was held at the West Beach Bar and Grill and solo artist David "Boxcar" Gates went to Memphis. In 2012 we held the event at the Princeton Pub downtown and Pappa Dawg's Band was selected. Last year the event was held on Granville Street at the FANCLUB. Brandon "Yukon Slim" Isaak was chosen from the solo/duo category and Arsen Shomakhov Band from the band category. 

We had 10 acts performing 25 minute sets with judges using the same criteria employed in Memphis

to determine who will be sponsored to attend the January 2015 event on the famed Beale Street.
The two acts that went to Memphis are:

Uncle Wiggly's Hot Shoes Blues Band


Dalannah Gail Bowen & Owen Owen Owen

On Sunday July 26 2015 we conducted another Blues Challenge Event at the Semiahmoo First Nation's Semiahmoo Park Spirit Stage to determine the solo/duo act and band to represent the WRBS in Memphis in January 2016.

Jesse Ropper was selected for the solo category

the Arsen Shomakhov Blues Band was selected for the band category.

On Sunday July 24th 2016 at the Pacific Inn Resort we conducted our annual Blues Challenge Event which yielded the following results.

Harpdog Brown won the Band Category

Brandon Isaak and Chip Hart won the Duo Category

They will represent the White Rock Blues Society at the IBC in Memphis in January 2017.