NIGHTHAWKS NEW 2015 RELEASE
"BACK PORCH PARTY"
Back Porch Party was recorded “live and acoustic” in the studio, the band running through a dozen songs that include five originals as well as covers of classic tunes by Muddy Waters, Lightnin’ Slim, Willie Dixon, Ike Turner, and Jimmy Rogers. A couple of performances defy expectations, even for a band as flexible as the Nighthawks – their own version of “Down In The Hole,” better known as the theme from the acclaimed HBO series The Wire, and the Patsy Cline gem “Walkin’ After Midnight.”
View full PRESS RELEASE here.
The Nighthawks are considered the best bar band in the world and have been since they got their start in 1974... at least, that's when the original line-up was solidified with Mark Wenner, Jimmy Thackery, Jan Zukowski and Pete Ragusa. After better than 40 years and a few personnel changes the band has settled in with what may well be their best rendition ever with Mark Wenner, of course, Paul Bell on guitar, Johnny Castle on bass and Mark Stutso on drums. These guys have honed their skills playing with the best of the best in every genre imaginable and those years working at sharpening their skills have paid off. Whether blowing the roof off with the electrified band or doing the same without the aid of Edison and Tesla, the Nighthawks are out there night after night playing what can only be called "Good Music."
REFLECTIONS IN BLUE - Reviews April 2015
The Nighthawks - Back Porch Party
Back Porch Party features the band in an acoustic setting...and if you think a band needs high levels of volume to rock a house, you've never heard a true blues band. Blues bands have been going at it in an acoustic setting quite possibly from the beginning of time then the people would gather round the campfire and sing songs of the hunt. The Nighthawks continue in that fine tradition, singing what they know and love. Truly good music springs from the deepest regions of the heart and from deep wells of experience... and if not their own, those of someone else with whom they can relate. It is that element of been there and done that that gives the music its power. It is also here that the healing aspects of the music come into play. If these guys can survive this situation, so can I (or you). Somewhat a follow-up to their BMA winning acoustic CD, Last Train To Bluesville, Back Porch Party has all the power of any full-blown electric performance... and then some. The Nighthawks prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is no correlation between volume and quality. If anything, maybe the opposite is true. Being able to hear the subtle nuances in the music is a wondrous thing indeed.
The Nighthawks are a mature blues/ roots band, playing good music from wherever they find it, whether it is the Blues Masters, country legends, soul and R&B or some kids performing doo-wop on the street corner. Good music is good music regardless of where you might find it and, the Nighthawks have a knack for both recognizing a good tune when they hear one or for simply composing one themselves. Back Porch Party is a great piece of work and is certainly worthy of recognition from the industry. It is rare to find a band that is able to keep things fresh from one album to the next, let alone 40 years or more. In all my years of listening to this band I have heard songs done repeatedly to be sure but some bands have a knack for never playing a song the same way twice. This is one of those albums I could readily recommend to anyone and everyone. It would be a great addition to any collection. - Bill Wilson
Don & Sheryl’s Blues Blog
April 21, 2015
BACK PORCH PARTY - LIVE AND ACOUSTIC
The Nighthawks continue their foray into acoustic blues following up their Blues Award-winning "Last Train To Bluesville” with a brilliant, live-in-the-studio set done at Montrose Studio in Richmond, VA, entitled “Back Porch Party.” And a party it is, indeed—set in front of an intimate, in-studio crowd, the fellows roll thru twelve cuts of cool covers and ‘Hawks originals.
The lineup is the same—the venerable Mark Wenner on harp, Paul Bell on guitar, Johnny Castle on bass, and Mark Stutso on drums. The engineers hit “record” and the guys did the rest–one take is all it took to get this party committed to wax, and it makes for a really fun listen. Things kick off wth the Jimmy Rogers chestnut, “Rock This House,” while Mark pays tribute to one of his mentors, Muddy Waters, with a chugging “Tiger In Your Tank,” and the pounding stomp of “Rollin’ Stone.” Johnny Castle’s cuts, “Jana Lea” and “Hey Miss Hey” have a Fifties’ doo-wop feel, and Mark has made “Walkin’ After Midnight” a staple of the band’s live shows. Two of the band’s early works are also represented. Mark takes the lead vocal and tells the tale of “learning the wrong from the right,” but never how to “Guard Your Heart.” The set closes with another cool original as Mark vows to move “Back To The City,” because “this country living sho’ has got me down!”
We had two favorites, too. The story of that “Little Red Rooster and the little brown hen” is a humorous rocker, and “Down In The Hole” is where the fellows want to keep the Devil. This one has fine call-and-response vocals from everyone, set over a haunting groove.
Hey—good blues is good blues, whether it’s stripped-down or amped-up, and The Nighthawks have been pitchin’ a boogie for some forty years, and they just keep getting better! “Back Porch Party” is a whole lotta fun!
Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.
What Critics are Saying about the Nighthawks’ 444
“After all these years, the Nighthawks continue to produce music bursting with exuberant energy and infectious vitality, rescuing forgotten gems, breathing new life into classics, and adding to the canon with catchy and contagious originals. 444 (their debut on the excellent indie label, Ellersoul Records), stands among the band's finest. This one's a keeper!” – John Taylor, Blinded by Sound
“444 is a program of The Nighthawks’ typical infectious brand of the blues, rockabilly, and country-tinged party tunes. Sometimes, they’re out to get you on the dance floor (“Livin’ the Blues,” “Honky Tonk Queen”), and sometimes they’re being entertaining by singing about the joys of things like “Crawfish.” Occasionally, they slow it down a bit to say something a bit deeper as in the album’s closer, “Roadside Cross.” From start to finish, 444 sounds like a rockin’ live concert without hearing the audience’s responses. That’s where you come in.” – Wes Britton, Blog Critics
“Led by harmonica maestro Mark Wenner and featuring guitar virtuoso Paul Bell and the red hot rhythm section of Mark Stutso and Johnny Castle, the Nighthawks once again prove their pedigree with this fine set. Yet another Nighthawks winner!” - Mick Rainsford, Blues in Britain
“The Nighthawks are as cohesive a unit as you could want. They enjoy playing together and their positive energy is contagious. This is one of the bands that made me love this music. I am one of their blues disciples anxiously awaiting their next appearance and there are many of us. Please save me a seat.” - Richard Ludmerer, Making a Scene
“40 years in and there’s no dust on them. Fresh off another BMA award, this bunch continues to pilot the roots ship they first set sail with but they keep it fresh, lively and contemporary while leaping off from a sound rooted in the past. The consummate party band for anyone that doesn’t live in Brooklyn, this is such a gasser, all you can do it sit back and take it in multiple times so you can finally get a real handle on all the stuff going on here. This is what they talk about when they talk about making a joyful noise. Killer stuff from a crew that started out in the blues and never really strayed that far from it but seems to have covered a lot of ground between here and there.” – Chris Spector, Midwest Record
“Good news for fans of blues and roots rock who are looking for some new tunes for the coming summer nights. 444 features thirteen songs simmering with the band’s trademark blend of blues, soul, and good old rock ‘n’ roll. For over 40 years they’ve been playing their brand of music… long before people started labeling it. If it spoke to the soul and made you want to move, they’ve played it. Over the years, they opened shows for such artists as Muddy Waters, James Cotton, John Lee Hooker and Carl Perkins. The Blues Foundation gave The Nighthawks the “Acoustic Album of the Year” award for their 2011 album Last Train To Bluesville. And now, with 444, they have put out yet another fantastic album that recreates the feeling of live gig. The energy and style these guys have is evident in every track.” – Greg Victor, Parcbench
Quotes on "Damn Good Time":
“Damn Good Time is one of the best roots records of the year from a bunch of blues-tinged roaddawgs who still know how to rock”. – By Grant Britt , No Depression
“… this is as good as anything the band’s ever done and portends even better ’cause there’s an extra something present…” – by Mark S. Tucker, Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
“… The Nighthawks are a band that I must admit I have not paid a lot of attention to in the past, but, hey, maybe I have been missing something all these years! This really excellent release by one of the hardest working bands around is a real revelation”. – Phil Wight, Blues & Rhythm (UK)
“This one’s a roots rocker with that blues driven sound that drove the ‘50s into the history books and gave birth to rock and roll as we know it. It’s seminal, it’s organic and The Nighthawks have been doing it for 40 years.”-Robert Carraher, The Dirty Lowdown
Quotes on "Last Train To Bluesville":
“While these songs have been staples of The Nighthawks set list for decades, the sparkling acoustic arrangements provide them, and the band, with a new lease on life…accurately captures the dynamics of one of roots music’s long lasting, dependable and often unsung, outfits. Long may they fly.” – Blues Revue
“After nearly forty years toiling in the blues music trenches, The Nighthawks know how to play this stuff in their sleep. You won't find them sleepwalking through these performances, though, the band infusing each song with a joyful energy. Don't let the acoustic studio setting fool you, 'cause it's obvious that the guys were having a lot of fun revisiting these oldies-but-goodies, and they tear into them with the same zeal as they would any of their electric performances.” –About.com
“Sound throughout is exemplary, with each instrument superbly defined. There’s a palpable presence to Paul Bell’s guitar – one can almost feel the strings vibrating the air, and real bite to Mark Wenner’s acoustic harp. And with everything captured in a single take at the Sirius/XM Studios in Washington, this is a superb document of the intuitive interplay between seasoned veterans who still find sheer, unbridled joy in making music together. It simply doesn’t get much better than this!” –Blog Critics
“Jump the blind, juble joo, or drag onto a Johnny O’Brien, but get on this train to Bluesville and ride it with the fury of the crossroad weary! –JazzReview.com
“The Nighthawks show no sign of slowing down as they enter their fifth decade as a viable force on the contemporary blues scene. All Aboard the Last Train To Bluesville and be sure to enjoy the ride!” –Nashville Blues Society
“…in the end things are as they should be--Wenner sets the mood and the attitude, and literally and figuratively is the voice of the Nighthawks. His harp playing throughout is as impressive for its succinct statements as it is for its expressiveness, and as assured as he is vocally on the strutting numbers, he turns in two exceptionally deep ballad performances here, with an evocative appeal on Slim Harpo’s ‘Rainin’ In My Heart’ and an affectingly weary rendition of Sonny Boy Williamson’s ‘Mighty Long Time.’ Don’t take the album title too seriously. If history has taught us anything about the Nighthawks, it’s that the band is always coming back to bluesville. The train may be carrying different freight on some trips, but it’s always running, and it’s always right on time.” –The Bluegrass Special
“When it comes to the blues, things don’t get much more pure than Last Train to Bluesville.” –The Post & Courier
“On Last Train to Bluesville, the fiery blues-rockin’ Nighthawks prove one doesn’t have to have to plug in to create musical sparks…this is one rollicking night train no one should miss.” –Virginian-Pilot
“I keep coming back to The Nighthawks. This acoustic session will cause you to come back to them often.” -–BluesWax
"A dexterous, colorful detour, this record proves that the Nighthawks are just as comfortable on the back porch as they are in the bars." -–Living Blues
"You might think an acoustic version of James Brown's 'I Go Crazy' wouldn't work well, but you'd be wrong; Bell's guitar and Wenner's harp are perfect vehicles for this interpretation."–Vintage Guitar
"The entire session feels like an after-hours jam among old friends at some long-lost blues bar." –Barry Alfonso, iTunes
"...Nighthawks' founder Mark Wenner carries the load, with rich, personable harp work and deep, grainy vocals - his evocative appeal on Slim Harpo's 'Rainin' In My Heart' is especially affecting - as guitarist Paul Bell complements him with deft, discursive, idiomatically impeccable soloing...the sonics are doubly impressive: live in their immediacy and expressiveness, but with clean studio-style distinctions that give these workouts musical heft." –The Absolute Sound
Mark Pucci Media
|Download a 2015 NIGHTHAWKS PRESS KIT HERE
|Ellersoul Records announces the new release Back Porch Party from American roots music band, The Nighthawks.
CURRENT PRESS RELEASE
NIGHTHAWKS ARTICLES & REVIEWS:
EXAMINER, JULY 2014
FRIDAY BLUES FIX, JULY 2014
GONZO ONLINE, JULY 2014
LIVING BLUES, 2014
TWANGVILLE, JUNE 2014
BLINDED BY SOUND, JUNE 2014
THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT, MAY 2014
NO DEPRESSION, MAY 2012
ACOUSTICMUSIC.COM, MAY 2012
THE DIRTY LOWDOWN, MAY 2012
THE EXAMINER, MAY 2012
BLUES & RHYTHM, MAY 2012
MONTGOMERY MAGAZINE, SEPT/OCT 2011
BLUESWAX, PART 1, MAY 12, 2011
BLUESWAX, PART 2, MAY 19, 2011
LE MOYNE COLLEGE MAGAZINE, Winter 2011
VINTAGE GUITAR, Sept. 2010
BLUEGRASS SPECIAL, Apr. 2010
ARIZONA DAILY STAR