St. John's blues artists Nick Earle and Joe Coffin won the young performer award for Live at the Citadel House at the Canadian Folk Music Awards in Toronto Saturday night. 

Carbonear-born, St. John's-based musician Duane Andrews won instrumental solo artist of the year for Conception Bay.

Duane Andrews

Duane Andrews plays a guitar modelled after the one Django Reinhardt played. (Leigh Anne Power)

A Toronto rail yard worker who abandoned hard labour in middle age for a music career emerged the top winner at this year's awards.

David Francey took home both solo artist and contemporary album of the year for Empty Train on Saturday night at Toronto's Isabel Bader Theatre.

The Scotland-born Canadian's 11th album highlights an array of stories from the working class, with one about patrons at a Yukon night club and another recounting the tale of a real-life California football coach headed to the Holy Land to entertain Palestinian children with magic tricks.

Francey, who began a singing career at 45 on the insistence of his family, already has three Juno Awards for roots traditional solo albums. He's well-known to folk music fans in Newfoundland and Labrador, and has played at the N.L. Folk Festival several times. 

Toronto's Jadea Kelly grabbed contemporary singer of the year for Love & Lust, while Sarnia, Ont., singer Donovan Woods was English songwriter of the year for Hard Settle, Ain't Troubled.

Other winners included Halifax-based Hillsburn as new/emerging artist for In the Battle Years, while Montreal's Chaim
Tannenbaum was traditional singer of the year for his self-titled 2016 album.

Aboriginal songwriters of the year went to Twin Flames, the duo of Chelsey June, an Algonquin Cree Metis woman from Ottawa, and Jaaji Quaqtaq, an Inuk Mohawk man from Nunavik.

Les soeurs Boulay won French songwriters of the year for "4488 de l'Amour."

Vocal group of the year was Musique a bouches, an a capella group that incorporates foot tapping with their singing. They won for their album Jusqu'aux oreilles.

The Ennis Sisters perform

The evening included a set from folk veteran Bruce Cockburn and songs by the Ennis Sisters and Colin Linden, a longtime producer on Cockburn's albums.

Toronto-based Sultans Of String also performed from their album Subcontinental Drift, which won the world group of the year award.

World solo artist went to Montreal's Willy Rios for Para ti.

In additional categories, Yann Falquet & Pascal Gemme's Princes et Habitants was traditional album of the year.

And David Gillis brought in producer of the year for Hobo Jungle Fever Dreams, an album from singer Corin Raymond.

The Kerplunks' Pants & Mammals won children's album, and the Andrew Collins Trio nabbed instrumental group of the year.

Charlottetown's the East Pointers got the ensemble of the year honour for Secret Victory.

An award called Pushing the Boundaries, which recognizes artists taking "creative risks" went to Toronto-based Kaia Kater for Nine Pin.