A RISING blues star who has the backing of a local club has wowed a sell-out crowd at one of the region's most popular live music venues.

Singer songwriter Rebecca Downes's concert, hosted by the recognised Sedgefield Blues Club at the town's parish hall, sold out one month in advance.

The Birmingham blues singer took to the stage on Friday (November 27).

John Tate, of the club, said: "The gig was absolutely amazing. She's turned down X Factor and those fast track routes and is doing things the hard way. She's the most fantastic singer and songwriter."

Mr Tate said he found about the singer last year after she sent a video to him in the hope of securing a spot in one of the club's eight gigs a year.

"We get 200 acts a year apply to Sedgefield Blues Club, so when another singer applied I thought it was run of the mill," he added. "I watched the video she sent, and I thought it ok then I found another video of hers, and it blew me away.

"She sent me her CD and I listened to it carefully and turned to my wife and said: 'I've got a winner here'".

Since then the pair have become friends and the club, which was inducted into the American Blues Hall of Fame last year, is now supporting her with a merchandising case so the Sedgefield name travels with her.

"I am now proud to say I am one of her team, networking and sourcing gigs for her in the North East which she proudly calls her second home ," said Mr Tate who calls her his 'star'.