5th UK Blues Challenge 2018


Greg Coulson Band

Greg Coulson is a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and gifted performer. An accomplished Pianist and Hammond player he is also a gifted guitarist and singer/songwriter specialising in Rhythm & Blues. 2010 saw the break Greg had been looking for, at the age of 19 he joined the legendary two- tone band The Selecter. Known as a Hammond player, and not just a keyboard player, Greg toured with The Selecter and made over 400 appearances worldwide. Greg’s heart has always been true to Rhythm & Blues and his own songwriting. He has managed to tour the UK with his own band, taking his own brand of high octane, fun and musically ingenious Blues to loyal audiences throughout the UK – Greg’s main aim to make Blues accessible for the next generation of music lovers. 



Catfish have a reputation for scintillating live performances with their phenomenal young frontman, 21 year old guitarist/vocalist Matt Long, who shows a real passion for the blues. Catfish have received no fewer than five nominations over just two years of the UK Blues Awards, with both of their albums to date hitting the number one spot in the IBBA Blues Airplay Charts and ‘Broken Man’ voted album of the year in 2017 by the Independent Blues Broadcasters Association. The Catfish lineup features Matt Long on guitar and vocals, Paul Long on keyboards and vocals, Kevin Yates on drums and Adam Pyke on bass


Kyla Brox Band

Daughter of cult blues figure, Victor Brox, the Mancunian vocalist began her career as a teenager in her father’s band and has now honed her own sophisticated sound, as heard on her critically acclaimed 2016 album, Throw Away Your Blues. Her voice; tender, urgent, gritty, blurring the distinction between pleasure and pain, mixed with the enchantingly fluent guitar work of Paul Farr, inspired bass playing of Danny Blomeley and in-the-pocket drumming of Mark Warburton, combine to make a unique and powerful, often joyous, always emotional experience.


Tom C Walker Band

Born in Birmingham in 1995, Tom is regarded as one of the ‘great new hopes’ of the British Blues scene. His funk approach to much of his material makes for a highly danceable blend of memorable songs and excellent musicianship. Tom started playing the guitar aged 12. He has quickly gained a reputation in the blues world and toured extensively here and in the USA. As The Tom Walker Trio he has supported John Lodge, Paul Jones and Devon Allman, as well as numerous headlining tours. His music is varied and mixes blues and soul with his dextrous guitar playing to create an original take on the genres.

Carl North & The Lonely Hearts

Rhythm & Blues five-piece from Manchester. In their first year alone, multi-instrumentalist North fronted The Lonely Hearts alongside a number of traditional giants, including Andrew Combs, Gill Landry, Matt Andersen & C.W. Stoneking. In 2017, following a successful summer of festival appearances which included playing at Glastonbury, the end of the year saw the five-piece release their debut single ‘Worst Of You’. Plans to perform nationwide are on the horizon with tour and festival dates to be announced. They were selected as the fifth participants of the Blues challenge by the Jessica Foxley Music Project on the Jesssica Foxley Stage at the Colne Great British R&B Festival.



Sarah Reeve – Sarah’s Sussex Blues

Eric Nyberg – Founder UnTapped Blues & Brews Festival in Kennewick WA, USA

Joe Cushley – Broadcaster, actor, Radio 2 Blues Show Production Team member

Malcolm Mills – Chairman Proper Records

Alan White – EarlyBlues.com webzine and former UKBlues Federation Board Member


Kyla Brox Band

(c) Christophe Losberger

“What a fabulous evening we had at Worthing Pier’s Southern Pavilion on Saturday 8th September where a great and enthusiastic audience cheered to the rafters when the magnificent Kyla Brox was declared the winner of the 5th UKBlues Challenge and invited to go to represent the UK at both the International Blues Challenge in Memphis in January 2019 and the European Blues Challenge in The Azores in April 2019.  All five contestants – Greg Coulson Band, Carl North & the Lonely Hearts, Kyla Brox Band, Catfish and Tom C Walker Band  – treated us to a fabulously varied evening of top flight music and all proved that they were worthy of taking part in the Challenge. Congratulations go to all of them on making the event so very special.  But special congratulations to Kyla Brox and her band who we are both proud and pleased to have as the UK’s representative at the International and European Blues Challenges next year”.

UKBlues Federation

Click here to read the full story on the UKBlues Newsletter.

Click here for an interview with Kyla Brox for her crowdfunding campaign by Bluesdoodles

Winners’ Opportunities

Click here for press release of Kyla winning the European Blues Challenge 2019.

Kyla Brox, winner of EBC 2019 comments about her win: “I’m so proud to have represented the UK Blues Federation at the 9th European Blues Challenge and thrilled that we won! The response from the crowd, the judges and our fellow musicians was amazing and it feels great to receive this huge accolade. I can’t stop smiling! We are already reaping rewards from our win; many new opportunities to play in countries we haven’t visited before, more DJs playing our music, some great press coverage.”

Click here for UKBlues press release of the IBU and EBU Challenges.

Photo Galleries

Click here for a Review and Photo Gallery by Bluesdoodles.

Reviews & Interviews

Click here for an interview with Kyla Brox by Bluesdoodles

Click here for an interview with Catfish by Bluesdoodles.

Click here for an interview with Greg Coulson by Bluesdoodles

Click here for an interview with Tom C Walker by Bluesdoodles.

Click here for an interview with Carl North and The Lonely Hearts by Bluesdoodles.

Comments and Feedback

Kyla Brox: “It’s impossible to say how much taking part in the UK Blues Challenge has propelled our career and contributed to such a successful time for us. It has helped us to bring our music to new audiences, gaining new fans and gigging opportunities all over the UK and worldwide. I can’t thank the UK Blues Federation enough for all the work they put into the Challenges and keeping UK Blues alive and kicking.”


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