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Late Jeff Healey the big winner at 12th annual Maple Blues Awards

The late Jeff Healey was the big winner at the Maple Blues Awards.

The late Jeff Healey was the big winner at the Maple Blues Awards.

The Canadian blues guitarist and his band won seven out of 17 awards handed out at the Phoenix Concert Theatre on Monday, including best entertainer, electric artist, guitarist and recording of the year for his posthumous album "Mess of Blues."

His accompanists - drummer Al Webster, keyboardist Dave Murphy and bassist Alec Fraser - also won their respective instrument categories.

Healey died in March after a battle with cancer that robbed him of his sight when he was a baby.

Saskatchewan native and Toronto-based singer-songwriter Suzie Vinnick picked up the female vocalist of the year once again, Toronto's Paul Reddick took the songwriter of the year award and John Mays, who heads the group Fathead, earned the male vocalist of the year title.

Harry Manx of Saltspring Island, B.C., won for acoustic artist of the year, Daddy Long Legs of Waterloo, Ont., took new artist of the year honours, Harlem-born veteran Taj Mahal won international artist of the year and Ottawa's Steve Marriner won harmonica player of the year.

Last year's top winners, Downchild, received an award for horn player Pat Carey.

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