Blues men are the best of British

A young Norfolk musician has won two titles at the first ever British Blues Awards, and his drummer completed the hat-trick of successes.Oli Brown, a 21-year-old singer guitarist from Sco Ruston near North Walsham, was named best male vocalist and young artist, while band member Simon Dring from Norwich was voted top drummer.

Oli Brown, a 21-year-old singer guitarist from Sco Ruston near North Walsham, was named best male vocalist and young artist, while band member Simon Dring from Norwich was voted top drummer.

The votes on more than 1300 nominees were cast by music fans and the winners announced at the Newark Blues Festival at the weekend.

Oli said: 'These awards mean a lot to me. My only real ambition in life is to play music and it is great to get some recognition through people's votes.

'They are in pride of place at home, and are the first real trophies I have won since a football one when I was 10,' he added.


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Manager and father Graham Brown said the awards were 'a degree of extra credibility' to his career, which has seen him release two albums to rave reviews, gain a reputation for strong live performances, and travel as far as Memphis to compete in blues competitions.

Oli was up against tough competition including well-known Ian Siegal in the vocal section and Chantel McGregor who appeared in Norwich last week, in the young artist category.

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Mr Brown said it was good that drummer Simon from Hellesdon, a loyal member of the band since it was launched at Norwich's Walnut Tree Shades in 2007, had also got some recognition.

Oli returned from a mini tour of New Zealand last month, and will soon be tackling a series of gigs in Belgium, Spain and Holland as well as Britain, including some visits to Norfolk schools, ahead of a 'home' appearance at Norwich Waterfront on December 19.

He is working on adding new songs and sounds to his live set, with slide and acoustic guitar - but has also caused a stir by switching from his trademark straight hair to let loose his natural curls as it was 'time for a change'.

More details about the awards at http://britishbluesawards.com. Latest information bout Oli and his band at www.oliselectricblues.co.uk.

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