2nd UK Blues Challenge 2015


Brothers Groove

Brothers Groove is a Birmingham based Blues band, formed in 1991. The line-up is: Shaun Hill guitar and vocals, Nigel Mellor guitar and vocals, Deano Bass bass and vocals, Darren Canny drums and vocals. Initially, the band tapped in to the musical influences of famous Midlands-based Blues bands, and combined these with jazz influences like The Average White Band, to create their own unique and edgy Bluesy funk sound.


Katie Bradley Band

Kent singer-songwriter Katie Bradley came into the spotlight with her 2012 iTunes Blues hit “I hear the river” which received a nomination for Best original song in the British Blues Awards. Katie continues to ascend celebrating a highly acclaimed career supporting and collaborating with artists across the world.


Malaya Blue

Norwich-based singer Malaya Blue exploded onto the UK Blues scene in 2015 following the release of debut album Bourbon Street. By the end of that year she had final 6 nominations for British Blues Awards in no less than four categories.


Red Butler

With a burning desire to entertain and pursue a serious music career, at the age of 18 Alex Butler from Uckfield, East Sussex decided to form a band. The blues/rock outfit Red Butler emerged in April 2012, with the line up consisting of Alex Butler (guitar), Charlie Simpson (drums), Jane Pearce (vocals) and Mike Topp (bass). Drawing upon influences from SRV, Etta James, Joe Bonamassa, Gary Moore, Free, King King, Santana and Derek Trucks the band have developed their own style of writing and have begun producing thoughtful, light hearted and melodic compositions.



Coming soon.


The Judges’ verdict was Red Butler.

(c) Rockypix – used with permission

Click here for UKBlues Federation / EBU press release

Click here for an interview with Red Butler after being declared the winners by Alan White.

Winners’ Opportunities

The winners were invited to represent the UK at the:

32nd International Blues Challenge in Memphis USA in 2016

6th European Blues Challenge in Torrita di Siena, Italy in 2016

Red Butler unfortunately didn’t proceed past the early stages.

Ashwyn Smyth – Chair of UKBlues – said: ‘It has been a lot of hard work to pull both the selection process and the UK Challenge together, but it was all worth it! I am sure that Red Butler are going to do us proud in Italy next year. Our thanks go to Pete Feenstra for all he has done to make the Challenge happen and to the five judges who were faced with making some difficult choices. This has also been a great way to introduce the newly formed UK Blues Federation to the blues community in the UK and we have many plans for the future including, we hope, seeing a UK representative at the 2017 International Blues Challenge in Memphis. “We hope that many people will want to join UKBlues and help to support us in what we are doing and they can do so by going to our website where there are details of membership types and how you can join.”

Alex Butler of Red Butler said: ”There is huge exhilaration amongst the band at winning the UK Blues Challenge. We put our hearts and souls into the gig against stiff opposition. The immediate reaction from the crowd told us this was something special from the word go. We are thrilled to have a major European event in the calendar for next year.”

UKBlues Federation Crowd Funding Press Release:

“Following the end of a crowd funding campaign set up by the UK Blues Federation (UKBlues) on Crowdfunder UK, UKBlues is very pleased to announce that a total of £570.00 was raised thanks to the generosity of the contributors. After the deduction of the fees levied by Crowdfunder UK, PayPal and Stripe who process the payments, a total of £540.00 remains and UKBlues have passed the whole of this to Red Butler to assist with their costs appearing at the 6th European Blues Challenge in Torrita di Siena, Italy in April. It is believed that this is the first time that the UK’s representative at the European Blues Challenge has received financial support from the UK blues community.  

For Red Butler, Alex Butler: ‘’We’d like to thank everyone who has been part of this incredible effort to support us in our journey to Italy. We are honoured to have the opportunity to compete in the competition flying the flag for the U.K.”   

For UKBlues, Ashwyn Smyth: ‘‘We are very pleased and not a little proud that we have managed to provide some financial assistance to Red Butler as they travel to Italy to compete with 20 other acts from around Europe in the 6th European Blues Challenge. We hope that people will recognise that UKBlues means what it says and that we are working hard to ‘promote and support Blues in and from the United Kingdom in all its forms and styles.’ This is just one small step, next year we hope to be able to assist the winners of this year’s UK Blues Challenge to attend both the EBC in Denmark and the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. We also have many other things which we are working on and invite people to support our work and the blues in the UK by joining the UK Blues Federation. For details visit our website, www.ukblues.org ‘’  

Source unknown

Photo: Danny Bryant presents Alex Butler with the UK Blues Federation’s cheque for the money raised by UKBlues’ crowd funding campaign.  At the Waterfront, Norwich: l to r – Paul Smith, UKBlues Board Member, Alex Butler, Danny Bryant, Charlie Simpson, Jane Chloe Pearce, Mike Topp.

Photo Galleries

Coming soon.

Reviews & Interviews

Click here for a Review of the 2nd UK Blues Challenge by Rosy Greer

Click here for press article by Uckfield News

Comments and Feedback

Coming soon.


If any reader has memorabilia of the event please email alan@earlyblues.com