Florida Swamp Blues…. that's the music of Packrat's Smokehouse.
Formed in New Smyrna Bch, Florida, Packrat and Robert formed band in '89 (Pop joined in '93 and Kenny in '94). They were Smokehouse '89 to '98 and Packrats Smokehouse '98 to '04 and 2015 to present. We knew each other from other bands and being natives (except Kenny moved to this area in late 80s). The band had a song on the Aaron Spelling TV production "Savannah" on WB network in '96 and their music was used as a large part of the soundtrack for the feature film "The Road to Canyon Lake" in 2004. Anthony "Packrat" Thompson is a raw, greasy harmonica player, evoking the swamp sounds of Baton Rouge that has spread and taken root in the steamy Florida lowlands. His voice is reminiscent of Little Walter and Howlin' Wolf. The lowdown guitar sound of guitarist Robert "Top" Thomas who is equally impressive, can spit out fiery solos and muscular riffs reworking the deep, swampy groove of New Orleans and Delta blues, that make you think of the pine flatwoods and cypress bottoms of Central Florida. Top is from New Smyrna Beach and Packrat is from Lake Helen Florida. Although they have shared bandstands since the late 1970's, It wasn't until 1988 that they began to explore their common roots and their love of the Blues. SmokeHouse" recorded four groundbreaking CD’s in the 90’s that defined the genre of Florida Swamp Blues. Living Blues Magazine said of their 3rd release Cadillac in the Swamp; "The year 1995 was a great one for blues recording, but this irrepressible set of updated swamp blues earns this reviewer’s vote as the best of the lot." In 2015 the band reunited and is now in the process of creating a much anticipated fifth album release in 2017.
Press accomplishments: In the Living Blues review in '96, the reviewer opined that "Cadillac In The Swamp" was the best album of 1995. In 1997, our song "Mr. So and So" placed #27 in the National Association of Rythmn and Blues DeeJays Top 50 List. Many great reviews of our albums and live performances are also out there.
Opening for such acts as "Third Eye Blind", "Jim Belushi and The Blues Brothers Band", "Elvin Bishop", "Canned Heat", "Grinderswitch", "The Del Vikings", "The Fabulous Thunderbirds" Taj Mahal, Koko Taylor, Noble "Thin Man" Watts, Kenny Neal, James Peterson and Lester Chambers.
Band Members include:
Anthony "Packrat" Thompson- lead vocals, harmonica, percussion;
Robert "Lightning Boy" Thomas- lead guitar, vocals;
Kenny "The Wizard" Sly-bass guitar, vocals;
Aaron "Pop" Watson-drums,vocals.