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Blues - Smokestack

Smokestack are a Brighton-based three-piece blues band who are regulars on the festival scene. They used to be the resident band when Circa was based in the Bottleneck and are starting to take up the same role now Guido’s have started using the building. They are led by the charismatic Phil Mills, who goes through a range of instruments during a set, including a lap steel guitar, slide guitar and harmonica. “Real instruments,” he tells me, down the phone. “We are Blues stylists: we’ve done that Chicago thing and are now very much our own band, incorporating a jazzy, souly feel into our music.” The other band members are Ali Van Ryne, who formed the band in 1997, and Roger Ferris on bass.

After the release of their debut album El Cobra they were invited to play on Paul Jones’ BBC Radio 2 Blues show – the DJ rated the band as ‘excellent’. They have a great live reputation too, often voted the top band in the various Blues festivals they perform in round the country and beyond. The band took their name from the Howling Wolf track ‘Smokestack Lightning’ but Phil doesn’t want to cite any one influence on the band. “Blues music in the UK goes through various revivals, and its in a pretty healthy state at the moment,” says Phil. “Younger people get into it through bands like the White Stripes and we are really pleased to see that there’s an increasingly wide age-range at our gigs.” DL

Bottleneck Blues: Smokestack at Guido’s

Guido’s, Western Rd, Lewes
When? 8.30pm
How Much? Free