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