Dawn Tyler Watson won the SOCAN-sponsored Songwriter of the Year honours, as well as Recording/Producer of the Year (for Mad Love) at the 23rd annual Maple Blues Awards, presented by the Toronto Blues Society on Feb. 3, 2020, at Koerner Hall in Toronto.

Miss Emily

Miss Emily

After thanking her band for their arrangements and playing “that take these songs to the next level,” the Montréal-based Watson said, “I really believe there is a force and a power… it’s the force of love, it’s the force of music, it’s the force of passion, and I’ve been blessed to be able to have that given to me… It’s because of grace that I’m standing here today.”

Miss Emily, from Kingston, Ont., was the big winner of the night, taking home three trophies: Female Vocalist and New Artist of the Year, as well as the inaugural Sapphire Video Award, for “Hold Back the River.” The Blues With A Feeling Award for lifetime achievement went to Montréal’s Michael Jerome Brown, for his long-standing career and commitment to blues music. New Brunswick’s Matt Andersen took home trophies for Male Vocalist of the Year and Acoustic Act of the Year

The sixth annual Cobalt Prize Contemporary Blues Composition Award, along with a $1,000 prize, was handed out to Rich Junco for his song “Cope.” First runners-up Bad Luck Woman & Her Misfortunes earned a $250 prize for their song “Curel Thing,” while the was a tie for the $250 second runners-up prize: Joe Nolan for “Paranoia Day 36 Blues,” and Loryn Taggart for “In My Company.”

The Maple Blues Awards are funded in part by the SOCAN Foundation.

For a full list of winners, click here.