Blues-rock trio Shoot The Duke win this year’s All About The Song competition

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  • Shoot The Duke have won a day in Air Studios and a trip to Italy
  • Singer-songwriter Aaron Middleton was named runner-up
  • The event marked the end of this year’s Portsmouth Festivities
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SHOOT The Duke hit the target as the trio took the top prize in the annual All About The Song competition.

In a close-fought final, the blues-rock trio beat country-pop act Southerlies and punk-tinged singer-songwriter John Bradley.

All  About The Song winners Shoot The Duke, from left, Neil Cripps, Sam Weeks and Thomas Bryan 
Picture: Mick Young
 (160772-04)

All About The Song winners Shoot The Duke, from left, Neil Cripps, Sam Weeks and Thomas Bryan Picture: Mick Young (160772-04)

Aaron Middleton was picked by the panel of judges as the runner-up.

The final, which is part of the Portsmouth Festivities, took place last night at The Wedgewood Rooms in Albert Road, Southsea.

Shoot The Duke singer and guitarist Tom Bryan, from Southsea said: ‘I thought everyone was so very talented – it was a good competition and everyone was supporting each other which is a good way to be at these sort of things.

As part of their prize, and for the first time this year, the winner will get flown out to record at a studio in Italy.

The 
All  About The Song finalists - at the back Southerlies, with at the front soloists John Bradley and Aaron Middleton and Shoot The Duke 
Picture: Mick Young
 (160772-05)

The All About The Song finalists - at the back Southerlies, with at the front soloists John Bradley and Aaron Middleton and Shoot The Duke Picture: Mick Young (160772-05)

They will also get to spend a day at the renowned Air Studios in London. The studios were set up by legendary Beatles producer George Martin and have since played hosts to such huge stars as Adele, Van Morrison, Coldplay and countless more.

‘I looked Air Studios up online,’ added the 22-year-old, ‘and it’s very impressive – all my idols have recorded there, I hadn’t realised the calibre of the acts they’ve had there – Red Hot Chili Peppers, Seasick Steve – it’s incredible.

‘And going to Italy too, that’ll be a nice little holiday.’

The band is completed by guitarist Neil Cripps and percussionist Sam Weeks.

Music promoter Steve Pitt, of Outsider Artists Inc, compered the evening and was one of the judges. He said: ‘We had four very different acts to judge, but I think all the judges agreed that the act who would really benefit the most from working with a top producer to give them advice, help with their arrangements and bring the best out of their material were Shoot The Duke.’

The contest’s final also marked the end of this year’s festivities, which has seen more than 100 arts and culture events staged across the city in the past 10 days.

Festivities manager Erica Smith was also on the judging panel, and she added: ‘There is such great songwriting talent in Portsmouth, and it’s been great to talk with the artists and give them some good feedback because we are all about supporting their progression and in whatever next steps they wish to take.’

The News-backed competition, now in its eighth year, is open to all unsigned singer-songwriters and acoustic performers of original material within the PO postcode area.