Published September 30, 2015
PHOENIX – Smokestack Lightning, a blues band from the Gila River Indian Community, won the Arizona Blues Showdown at the Rhythm Room blues club on Sept. 27, earning a chance to compete in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN.
“We succeeded against tough competition,” said Smokestack Lightning’s harmonica player Robert Jackson. The talented quartet came in second place last year in the showdown. “We put in the work and it paid off,” said Jackson.
Smokestack Lightning has been together since late 2009 and won the band category over seven other bands at the showdown. They will be representing the Phoenix Blues Society, an international affiliate of the Blues Foundation. The Blues Foundation presents the 32nd International Blues Challenge January 26-30, 2016 in the Beale Street Historic District.
Smokestack’s members are Pat Antone (drums, vocals), Mark Leos (bass), Rik Leos (guitar) and Robert Jackson (harp, vocals). For the showdown they performed original material written and arranged by the band.
While proud of their accomplishment, the band still has plenty of work to do. They received a generous $1,000 from the Phoenix Blues Society to help offset travel costs to the historic rock ‘n’ roll town. They are currently working on a benefit concert to help raise additional funds, which will be held at the Rhythm Room on 1019 E. Indian School in Phoenix on Friday Nov. 27. More details to come.
“Smokestack Lightning is proud to represent Arizona in front of the world’s best blues musicians,” said Jackson.