The 2023 UK Blues Challenge took centre stage over the weekend, showcasing a stellar lineup of talented bands that left audiences captivated with the soulful tunes that define the blues genre.

Among the contenders were The Toby Lee Band, The Errol Linton Band, Jo Carley & The Old Dry Skulls, The Terraplanes Blues Band, and The Milk Men. However, it was The Errol Linton Band that emerged victorious, securing the coveted opportunity to represent the United Kingdom in two prestigious international blues events.

Images: Paul Dubbelman

The Toby Lee Band, known for their raw energy and remarkable guitar skills, set the stage on fire with their passionate performance. The audience was transported to the heart of the Mississippi Delta as they delivered their soul-stirring blues.

The Errol Linton Band, led by the charismatic Errol Linton himself, proved to be the standout act of the evening. With their harmonious blend of harmonica, guitar, and Linton’s powerful vocals, they left an indelible mark on the judges and the audience alike. Their deep connection to the blues was palpable, and it was no surprise when they were announced as the winners.

Jo Carley & The Old Dry Skulls brought their signature blend of blues, punk, and gypsy jazz to the stage, creating a vibrant and unique performance that delighted the crowd. The Terraplanes Blues Band and The Milk Men also showcased their immense talent and passion for the genre, making it a tough decision for the judges.

The victory by The Errol Linton Band means that they will represent the UK on the international stage. They are set to take part in The International Blues Challenge in Memphis from the 16th to the 20th of January 2024, where they will compete against top blues acts from around the world. This is a tremendous opportunity for the band to gain international recognition and further establish themselves in the blues scene.

Following their triumph in Memphis, The Errol Linton Band will also participate in the European Blues Challenge in Braga, Portugal, scheduled for the 4th to the 6th of April. This event will bring together some of Europe’s finest blues talents, offering a chance for cross-cultural exchange and collaboration.

As The Errol Linton Band prepares to embark on these exciting international journeys, they carry with them the hopes and expectations of the UK blues community. Their victory at the 2023 UK Blues Challenge is a testament to their dedication and musical prowess, and blues enthusiasts across the nation eagerly anticipate their performances on the global stage.

The 2023 UK Blues Challenge was a celebration of blues music in all its diverse forms. The participating bands showcased the enduring appeal and versatility of this genre, with The Errol Linton Band emerging as the worthy winners. As they prepare to represent the UK on the international stage, the blues community eagerly awaits the chance to cheer them on and share in their success.

The future looks bright for The Errol Linton Band, and their journey promises to be a remarkable chapter in the ongoing story of blues music.