Smokestack Lightnin' Home Page -- The Blues Profile Page
I. "JT" Thompson grew up in Bellefonte, a small town in the mountains of
central Pennsylvania. At an early age he demonstrated an interest in
music. First came piano lessons, then the trumpet, and also vocal
excursions with the school choir. Some of his early influences were
Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, Santana, Doc
Sevrinsen, Freddie Hubbard, Herb Alpert, and Carole King. When he joined
the Bellefonte American Legion Junior Marching Band which traveled
throughout Pennsylvania playing parades, festivals, and fairs, JT got
his first taste of the road, and became determined to get out and see
JT relocated to Louisiana in the late 1970's, and became immersed in the influences of great talents such as Dr. John, Professor Longhair, Freddie King, Jan Hammer, George Duke, and Delbert McClinton. In 1980 he helped start a blues band called Joss, which toured the bayou country and opened for legendary entertainers such as B.B. King and the Pointer Sisters. He also played keyboards with Cajun Swamp pop king Charles Mann, regional R & B favorite Little Alfred, and toured from Florida to Arizona with the cover band Murphee Howze.
By the time he came to Atlanta in 1984, JT had played almost every genre of music there was to be played; country, rock, pop, hard rock, R&B, blues. He landed a gig with soul performer Curtis Reed, and worked with singer/songwriter Don Cognoscenti before going back on the road with Lifeline, a high-energy cover band. Lifeline eventually morphed into The Chase, playing hard rock, and JT came out from behind the keyboards to be the lead singer and front man. The Chase toured constantly throughout the Southeast, attracting a large following, eventually disbanding in 1994.
John settled back in the city, where he concentrated on the music he loved most to play--the Blues. With drummer Ron Kent and guitarist Randy Lees he started The Atlanta Heat Blues Revue. Not only were they a great blues band in their own right, but they also became the backup band for legendary blues singer Lotsa Poppa. Besides working steadily around Atlanta, AHBR opened for such greats as Bobby “Blue” Bland, Lattimore, Bobby Rush, and Lenny Williams (formerly with Tower of Power).
In 2002 JT returned to his hometown of Bellefonte where he immediately picked up on the pulse of the local music scene. He can be found entertaining people all over the Centre Region, from nightclubs to restaurants to private gatherings. He plays solo several times weekly, but also puts in time with State College PA favorites Maxwell Strait and The Triple A Blues Band, who's CD "High Water" won Billboard Magazine's First Place Award for Best Unsigned Band.
From the Louisiana bayou to the hills of West Virginia to the heart of the South - Atlanta, Georgia; JT has paid his dues to sing and play the Blues. JT’s eclectic repertoire is sure to please anyone’s taste in music.