European Blues Challenge UK representative….

european blues union

It is our proud privilege to once again nominate the UK act to represent at the EBC.
Our writers have voted for the best new act in the UK and the winner is:



With a burning desire to entertain and pursue a serious music career, at the age of 18 Alex Butler decided to form a band. April 2012 saw the beginning of the blues/rock band Red Butler with Alex butler (guitar), Charlie Simpson (drums), Jane Pearce (vocals), and Steve Eveleigh (bass). July 2014 saw Mike Topp take over from Steve Eveleigh on bass.


Drawing upon influences from Stevie Ray Vaughan, 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. The band have already been mentioned by the blues media (Alex for his subtlety, flair, passionate and accomplished playing, Jane for her soulful, vibrant and powerful voice, Steve for his fluid bass lines and Charlie for his driving rhythms) and their debut album Freedom Bound (released July 2014) saw the start of serious attention from the music industry – see ‘reviews’ section on website.

The management and act have been notified and are willing and proud to take on the Challenge to represent the UK in Brussels.

Brussels will host the 5th European Blues Challenge. This jubilee competition – organized by the Brussels Blues Society in cooperation with the Brussels Capital Region – will take place on March 13 and 14, 2015 at the Ancienne Belgique theatre.


Behind this proud moment lies a dire set of events which we will try to explain briefly, (no doubt others will come up with their own versions);

When the EBC was first held, it was agreed by the European Blues Union that Blues Matters would nominate the act to represent the UK who would be the winner of the Best UK Newcomer section of the Blues Matters! Annual Writers’ Poll. The four acts chosen by this means to date have had considerable success at the EBC with several being placed third and all receiving critical acclaim as well as considerable success both in the UK & Europe.

The reasoning behind this approach was that this removed any possibility of any form of influencing or weighting which is inevitable with a public vote. Keeping the voting internal meant that it could not be compromised. Even then some attempts were made to ‘influence’ voting but we made parties aware that if any evidence of attempts to influence voting was found, the acts involved would be automatically disqualified. This method of choosing the UK’s EBC representative is totally in accordance with the EBU’s own rules governing this process.

The four acts chosen so far using this method have been of high quality and most deserving of representing the UK. The four are Ben Poole, 24 Pesos, Babajack and David Migden & the Twisted Roots.

However, it seems that behind the scenes certain parties have tried to undermine our efforts. It appears that they have gone behind backs and failed to act in accordance with the EBU’s own rules & guidelines and recently an announcement on Facebook advised that for 2015, the UK’s act would be nominated by The Blues Magazine.

It would seem that this decision was taken without the consultation with the EBU Board and until this situation was drawn to their attention by us, many Board members knew nothing of what was going on.

At the time of writing there appear to be EBU board members who are still not aware of this!

No notification or advices regarding this change has been made by the Board of the EBU or any of its members. Furthermore, decisions have been taken regarding the UK’s national representative which are fundamentally in breach of the EBU’s own rules in this respect and which are out with the mandate of the EBU Board.

Blues Matters! has heard nothing from the EBU in this respect, a situation which, at best is utterly discourteous.
In the circumstances, we believe that, in the absence of any formal notification from the EBU and in the absence of due process in accordance with the EBU’s rules, we continue to act in good faith and in accordance with our mandate.

We call upon those members of the Board of the EBU who are responsible for this unacceptable situation to abide by their own rules and to consider whether they can justify continuing to serve as Board Members given both their discourteous actions and their apparent failure to make decisions in accordance with the EBU’s own rules and guidelines.

This should be done without delay to fully clarify the situation, to confirm the status quo and to reassure those UK Active Members, and active supporters and promoters of both the EBU and the EBC who are alarmed and deeply disturbed by what has happened and are seriously considering whether they feel they can continue membership or, at the very least, their support of the organisation and the challenge.