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Colin James a Triple Winner at the 21st Maple Blues Awards

[![Colin James performing at the 2018 Maple Blues Awards [Photo by Greg King]](/content/images/2018/01/Colin-James-Maple-Blues-300x200.jpg)](/content/images/2018/01/Colin-James-Maple-Blues.jpg)Colin James performing at the 2018 Maple Blues Awards [Photo by Greg King]
The annual Maples Blues Awards were handed out on Jan. 15th at the Koerner Hall in Toronto. The night’s only multi-award winner was renowned Canadian blues guitarist, songwriter, and singer Colin James, who took home three honours for Electric Act and Guitarist of the Year, as well as Recording/Producer  of the Year alongside Dave Meszaros for his album *Blue Highways. *Entertainer of the Year went to Montreal’s Paul DesLauriers Band and Big Dave McLean won the Maple Blues Award for Acoustic Act of the Year. Hamilton, ON’s Harrison Kennedy won Songwriter of the Year and Matt Andersen was named Male Vocalist of the Year. Female Vocalist of the Year went to Angel Forrest. Ottawa’s Laura Greenberg won for Bassist of the Year and Victoria, BC’s Jason Buie was named New Artist of the Year.

The lifetime achievement honour, called the Blues With A Feeling Award, was given to Toronto-based Diana Braithwaite for her longtime career and commitment to blues music in Canada. Musicologist, professor, and writer Rob Bowman was given the Blues Booster of the Year award for his contribution to the Canadian blues scene.

In addition to the Maple Blues Awards, the fourth annual Cobalt Prize Contemporary Blues Composition Award was handed out to Joe Nolan for his song “All You’ve Got to Do.” The runners-up were Conor Gains for his song “Walking Alone” and Miss Emily for “Hold Back The River.” A cash prize of $1,000 was presented to Nolan, with Gains and Miss Emily each receiving $250.

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.

The full list of winners at 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

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Mike Raine is the Senior editor of Canadian Musician.