CHEK Upside: Island teenage guitar prodigy earns Maple Blues nomination

CHEK Upside: Island teenage guitar prodigy earns Maple Blues nomination
WatchLiam Docherty, a 13-year-old from Qualicum Beach, is among the list of nominees in the Maple Blues Awards' best new artist category.

A 13-year-old Qualicum Beach blues guitarist has been nominated for a prestigious Canadian music award.

Liam Docherty, also known as the red-headed blues boy, has been nominated for a Maple Blues Award in the best new artist category.

Docherty first picked up a guitar at the age of four.

“He would go past that point where you’d get frustrated and you couldn’t do it,” says Docherty’s mom Natalie. “He’d work past that where he would master things that were very advanced for his age.”

Docherty would search out challenging riffs from musicians such as his personal favourite, Australian guitar legend Tommy Emmanuel.

“I was just really inspired by the music he was playing,” says Docherty.  “I just if I heard a song that I really liked I just set out to try and learn it.”

As a pre-teen, Docherty busked at farmer’s markets across Vancouver Island, raising enough money to pay for his first album entitled Modern Magic Melody.

There’s no autotune wizardry, just songs, most of them written and performed solely by Docherty.

“You know most young kids now kind of want to it’s almost like they’re attracted to the celebrity part of being a musician over the actual musician part and I don’t think Liam’s like that at all I just think he really loves the guitar,” says Doug Cox, who produced Docherty’s album.

Now with a shot at winning one of the most prestigious awards in Canadian blues music, Dougherty wants to put an exclamation point on his debut.

“I’d really love to win this award if possible,” he says.

The Maple Blues Awards honour the best in Canadian blues music and have been around since 1997.

Past Maple Blues Award winners include Nanaimo’s David Gogo, B.B. King, Matt Andersen, Jim Byrnes, Sue Foley, Colin James, Harry Manx, David Vest.

To vote for Liam and help him win the best new artist category, head to and register to vote.

Cole SorensonCole Sorenson

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!