Stuart Bligh. Superb Sussex Guitarist.


Stuart Bligh is a brilliant guitarist, singer and guitar teacher.

He lives in East Sussex and he plays solo or with his group, Big Blue.

I first met Stuart about 12 years ago, and he still looks exactly the same!

ME How old are you, Stuart?

STUART How old do you think I am?

ME I have no idea because you never alter!

STUART I’m 55.

ME You really don’t look it! When did you start playing the guitar?

STUART I was 16 when I started seriously practising.

ME Did you have lessons?

STUART No. My best friends were forming a band and invited me to join. So I was in a band before I had a guitar! We were making a racket straight away.

I say to my students, the sooner you play with others, the quicker you develop.

Actually I did have one lesson when I was in my early 20s. I was a bit late and he made me a coffee, and it all came off my hour’s lesson!

ME When did you realise that you were above average?

STUART It’s due to being determined. Perseverance was my biggest strength.

My parents just let me get on with it. I had part-time jobs to pay for equipment, guitar strings, etc and I had an old Bedford Scout van for transport. I re-invested in myself.

ME Where did you originally come from?

STUART SW London. We moved here in 1998

ME Why?

STUART We had a nice flat in Putney, but it was too small. We needed more rooms, so my wife Maria started looking further afield in 1997. We found this place and we’ve been here 26 years next year.

ME When did Big Blue start?

STUART Our first gig was on the 20th November, 1993 in the Greenwich Inn. I never forget the date because I’d met Maria the night before!

ME Did you play with other groups before Big Blue?

Yes. We tried to be rock stars. We even tried RCA Records. We’d written some good songs, but we didn’t have an album of songs, and we preferred Rock to Pop.

ME You could be much bigger than you are. Did you ever want or seek fame?

STUART Original songs is the key to the Big-time. It’s all down to original material. I didn’t push enough, and the other musicians weren’t as interested as me.

In my mid-20s I made the decision that my music had to be a career or a hobby. I couldn’t afford to take my girlfriend to the pictures as I had no money. But there are other ways of making an income from music, like teaching and studio sessions.

I think the definition of a successful musician is one who earns a living from his music.

Play at weddings, and then express yourself the next weekend!

LYN You have taught musicians who have become really successful. Do you have any twinges of regret that ‘There for the grace of God go I’?

STUART No. the difference with the generations is the computer world. We had to stick cassettes in envelopes and post them! Youngsters can really make it work.

ME Have you got any up-and-coming pupils at the moment?

STUART Always! Quite a few of them have gone into music careers, not necessarily the guitar, but a musical environment. Their jobs are always rewarding!

ME Have you got an agent? How do you get your bookings?

STUART I get most of the bookings myself. I have three agents who give me some work, but I don’t rely on them. They get me 10-15 bookings a year, and I get the other 120!

Some bookings come via our Website. We’re very well-established on our circuit. Functions are mainly booked through fans of the band.

Maria takes care of the website. It’s updated about every month with that month’s gigs.

ME How would you describe Big Blue?

STUART Blues based music, and a melting pot of other music as well. It’s danceable.

We do it all our way! We can give songs a complete makeover. We tip our hats to the past, but we keep it fresh.

ME what about songs like Abba’s, that are electronically re-worked? How do you manage them?

STUART Because when you strip away all the bells and whistles, you’ve still got a good song.

We re-invent and re-interpret.

We’re not a copy band!

Our music comes out different every time. It’s how you feel it on the night.

We ride a wave with the audience. We have signs like a nod or a wink, and the lengths of the songs can vary.

ME Are you happy with your way of life?

STUART Absolutely – as long as Maria’s there. I realise how lucky I am, but I don’t take any talent I have for granted. I promise to do my best always. I still practise hard!


  • Lyn Funnell

    Lyn is the co-owner of Unknown Kent and Sussex. She lives in Sussex. Lyn has been writing for most of her life, both Fiction & Non-Fiction. She loves cookery & creating original recipes. She's won a lot of prizes, including Good Housekeeping Millenium Menu & on BBC The One Show as a runner-up, making her Britain's Spag Bol Queen! She has had nine books published so far. History, Travel & Restaurant Reviews are her main interests.

12 thoughts on “Stuart Bligh. Superb Sussex Guitarist.

  1. Kim and I discovered Big Blue a few years ago playing a pub in Eastbourne. We have become good friends with the band and get along to see them whenever we can. We’re always guaranteed a great evening of high quality music from them. Talented musicians all of them.
    Jim Rutter

  2. Kim and I first discovered Big Blue when they were playing a pub in Eastbourne. We were immediately hooked. We get along to as many gigs as we can and are always guaranteed a great night of high quality music performed by top class musicians. We have become good friends with the band and thoroughly enjoy their music, even if Stuart is an Arsenal fan!
    Jim Rutter.

  3. I’ve been following The Big Blue for 20 years or so, mainly around the pubs of Hastings. They always draw a crowd which is hardly surprising as the musical talent is amazing. The three artists, Pete on drums, Andy on bass and of course Stuart on guitar and vocals are such a tight unit.
    I am always amazed at the sounds that come from this 3 piece, like Cream, the Jimi Hendrix Experience or Grand Funk Railroad the sum is far in excess of the individual parts. And an evening listening to them is a guaranteed success.
    They’ve introduce my wife and I to so many blues performers by their excellent reditions. In fact we now have quite a collection of blues music. And it’s quite fun to be listening to, say, a Muddy Waters track on a CD and hear how Stuart’s arrangement has added to the original.
    Stuart is a great musician and entertainer. If he’s appearing at a venue near you then just go. You won’t be sorry.

  4. I have seen Stuart play many many times and am always amazed by his talent. Bonus is he’s a really lovely person too!!

  5. Stuart is a great artist , teacher and is a valued friend as is Maria. He is a legend!
    He taught me to play proving you can teach an old dog new tricks after all.

  6. My girlfriend and I first discovered the band the big blue about 2 years ago playing at the two brewers pub in Rochester and loved the music we try to watch them every time they play in medway
    Stuart and the other members of the band are great people and very talented
    And it’s always a pleasure to listen to them playing

  7. Stuart is well known locally, not only as a brilliant guitarist singing & playing solo or with his band, The Big Blue, he is one of those guys that you instantly warm too.
    Alongside his lovely wife Maria together they make you feel part of the event whether small venue or at their bigger shows. We’ve followed him when we can past 12 years & never disappointed. Always a smile & he’ll play your favourite song with a request. On occasions tells you the story & some facts about what he is about to play.
    A quiet wedding or leading upto the evening do (its all everyone waits for – or is that just me?) any occasion at all, Stuart is definitely the man to call.

  8. Lyn’s interview and article captures Stuart the musician really well., though I’ve only known him a few years. I’ve seen Stuart play solo several times and the Big Blue once, and I’m in awe of his skill.

  9. I cant speak highly enough of Stuart both as a musician and a teacher. Live performances are inspirational and always well received at our club in Crowborough.

  10. Both myself and my children/family have followed the Big Blue for the best part of 20 years and still enjoy every show as if it was our first! Stuart (and Andy and Pete) are an exceptionally talented group of musicians and just as importantly lovely friendly and affable guys, knowledgeable and funny too. I class them as friends as well as people we love to watch and listen to – as well as producers of amazing live music. If only we could get Stuart to ditch his beloved Arsenal for the Blues of SW6 then I think we’d be getting somewhere! But all in all an exceptional guitar player and smashing bloke I’m proud to call a friend 🙂

  11. I first saw Big Blue at the Constitution Club in Crowborough last year and then saw Stu doing a solo gig in Uckfield. After the set finished, Stu came round and spoke to everyone there. He’s a lovely guy. I love the music and can’t wait for the next one.

  12. Technique, timing , touch,tone, innovation,emotional content,groove, taste, and that hair .

    Not in the above order either and they all don’t have to be present, obviously .. those are what came to me …I’m sure there are more ……

    Stuart Bligh is an absolutely great guitarist , he just is on a higher plane artistically and he has his own branch on the tree …. just love watching his fingers make the guitar talk and express the soul of the music. Certain songs move my soul and makes me want to dance, be happy and enjoy the time listening to the tone of each tune.

    The Big Blue one knows you will have seen excellent musicians showcasing music that needs to be heard…

    All the musicians within the Big Blue are recognised for their own excellent musical ability whether its the drummer or bass guitarist or the lead singer/ guitarist Stuart Bligh with his deep vocals .

    When Stuart plays on his own when he does acoustic ‘ gigs ‘ his variety of music changes to reflect the creativity of the guitar playing , then one is physically looking at his guitar skills that are showcasing music . It’s a complete ‘ joy ‘ to attend his gigs whether his ‘ solo acoustic ‘ shows or ‘ The Big Blue ‘ because overall Stuart is a very humble guy and personally it’s been a pleasure to be a part of his ‘ fan club ‘ and promote his upcoming gigs over Facebook so that more people can appreciate his and the bands talent in the world of ‘ live music ‘.

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