NEW! NIGHTHAWKS 2017 RELEASE
"ALL YOU GOTTA DO"

Eclectic? All over the map? The material on All You Gotta Do, The Nighthawks’ latest release, can certainly be described in these terms. Yet, throughout the nearly five decades of its career, the band has sourced songs from everywhere and anywhere.

The prototype recording, Rock and Roll, although it had no originals, established this template in 1974. Three years later, Sidepocket Shot, showed the band capable of nearly all original material and spanning an even wider range of genres, this time in an array of production styles a la the Beatles' Revolver. All You Gotta Do does not have any outside players, only the band itself, with a minimum of overdubs. Yet the band still sounds like a hard Chicago Blues band from the mid-1950s, adding the vocal harmonies that Miss Honey Piazza once dubbed “the Doo Wop Blues.”

View full PRESS RELEASE here.

Review in Bman's Blues Report

Review in Elmore Magazine

Four Stars from Roots Music Report!


Review in The Flame Still Burns

 

ACCLAIMED DOCUMENTARY
"NIGHTHAWKS ON THE BLUE HIGHWAY"

The Nighthawks struggle to keep their music alive after four decades in the unforgiving music business. Hopeless record deals, weary days on the road, and conflict among the four members threaten to bury the band. But The Nighthawks press on, carrying the torch of the blues into the 21st century.

Nighthawks on the Blue Highway (2016) is the first documentary film about the hardest working band in America, the result of two years of production, countless days on the road with the band and interviews with those who know the members and their music best. Directed by Johnny Cash biographer Michael Streissguth, the film stars George Thorogood, John Hammond, Luther “Guitar Junior” Johnson, and Mark Wenner.

Visit Nighthawks - On The Blue Highway website

 

REFLECTIONS IN BLUE - July 2017
The Nighthawks "All You Gotta Do"

by BILL WILSON

After all these years of listening to The Nighthawks for more years than I can count, it is hard for me to say "they are better than ever." That said, I have to admit that I have never heard them sound better. The Hawks are firmly rooted in Blues...there's no doubt about that, but they are first and foremost entertainers...and they do it extremely well.

This, the most recent rendition of the band, features Mark Wenner on harmonica, Paul Bell on guitar, Johnny Castle on bass and Mark Stutso on drums. Vocal responsibilities fall on the entire band. Each member brings their own unique talents to the table, and all of their strong points are hit upon and properly put to use. During at least one of my conversations with Mark Wenner, he made it a point to say that he will take a good song wherever he finds it, whether it be blues, country, soul, R&B, jazz, gospel, pop, rock, or whatever else. You can call their music, blues, soul, roots music...or, as Sonny Boy Williamson said: "You can call it your Mama if you want to." With a sound that spans all genres while still somehow sounding like a Chicago blues band is so many respects, the Nighthawks have remained one of the top-rated bands in the U.S. and beyond. One of the things I love about the Nighthawks is that what you see is what you get.

All You Gotta Do features the Nighthawks and only the Nighthawks...no heavy hitting "special guests", and very few overdubs. From classic blues covers of Sonny Boy Williamson, Muddy Waters (written by Willie Dixon) and R.L. Burnside to Brenda Lee, Jesse Winchester, Randy Newman and some incredible originals, this disc is over 40 minutes of pure pleasure. The band had their share of incredibly good and bad moments since their foundation over 40 years ago. This is a definite highlight. Just when I thought the band had reached its peak, they pull off something like this. Like a good bourbon or a fine wine, the Nighthawks are getting better with age. This one is highly recommended. It's one disc that will definitely be played repeatedly. You might want to get more than one copy of this one.

DON & CHERYL'S BLUES BLOG
July 26, 2017
The Nighthawks "All You Gotta Do"

It’s hard to believe, but we’ve been listening to The Nighthawks since the early 1980’s, and their vinyl LP’s from that era were some of our very first exposure to contemporary blues. A lotta blues have been played since that time, and the fellows are still bringing their fans the best in blues and roots-rock.  So, let’s cue up their latest release for EllerSoul Records, “All You Gotta Do,” and get ready to party!  On this set, four cuts are band originals, and they put their own unique stamp on eight varied covers.

More...

MIDWEST RECORD
CHICAGO, IL – JULY 22, 2017

NIGHTHAWKS/All You Gotta Do
 
The conventional wisdom is that if it isn't broke don't fix it. So what happens here? The award winning blues rocking roots vets pull material from all over the map and come on like a gang buster of a party band. Proudly parading real rock for real rock listeners, this is a return to the glory days of bar bands that anyone born in the 90s or later just wouldn't understand but would find their jaws dropping once they get a load of it. Killer stuff that works throughout, these old dogs just don't learn new tricks, they could teach a few of their own. Well done. – Chris Spectore


NIGHTHAWKS 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.


NO DEPRESSION
Nighthawks' Back Porch Throw Down
for EllerSoul debut
-
SEPT 10, 2015 By BIG BOY


The Nighthawks debut on EllerSoul Records is more of the same house rockin' bar bands blues the band has been putting out since their inception in '72. But blues is just a very general term for what founder and only remaining original member Mark Wenner has always contended, that his conception of the band was not a white boy blues band but an American music band reaching to a variety of musical sources...MORE

THE ALTERNATE ROOT
ON THE RADAR
- MAY 20, 2015

The Nighthawks celebrate forty-plus years in Roots Rhythm and Blues with a Back Porch Party that features the guys live in the studio to record. Coming up in the Washington, D.C. Folk Blues scene, The Nighthawks have spent lifetime playing songs that honored Blues and Rock’n’Roll, and Back Porch Party pairs original tunes with the songs of Muddy Waters, Lightnin’ Slim, Willie Dixon, Ike Turner, and Jimmy Rogers. The Nighthawks set the bar for the players sitting on the steps, straddling the rails, or wandering through the backyard as they promise to “Rock This House” on album opener. There is a rumble in the beat and the little car puttering with “Tiger in the Tank”, decisions are made and put into a “Matchbox” for some traveling, and the Blues dabs the water leak counting “Down to My Last Million Tears”. The Nighthawks settle into a confident stride as they join Patsy Cline in “Walkin’ After Midnight” and continue to head for cover as they pick notes and follow a mean bass line into The Wire theme song “Down in the Hole” on Back Porch Party.

MIDWEST RECORD
CHICAGO, IL – APRIL 27, 2015

NIGHTHAWKS/Back Porch Party
 
After the success of their last acoustic recording, the Hawks return to the format with a live  audience that probably appreciates the volume being turned town while the heat is still on full.  An engaging set of rocking blues by pros that have gone their own way for over 40 years and are none the worse for wear for it all.  Hot stuff recorded in one take with no fixing in the mix, this is real music for real ears.  Hot stuff full of heart and soul.

– Chris Spector

Amazon.com - Review
The Nighthawks - Back Porch Party

The Nighthawks prove that an acoustic set can be powerful and fun. It really does feel as though you are ...

By Rhetta Akamatsu on April 28, 2015

Recorded live to tape, with no overdubs or do-overs in front of a studio audience, The Nighthawks prove that an acoustic set can be powerful and fun. It really does feel as though you are visiting with very talented musician friends who are playing a combination of original tunes like "Hey Miss Hey," "Guard My Heart," and "Back to the City" and covers of songs from Lightnin' Slim, Ike Turner, Muddy Waters and BB King, plus two very surprising choices, this is an excellent album for any occasion. The two surprising choices are "Walking After Midnight,” which is so associated with Patsy Cline that few other musicians have recorded it, and "Down in the Hole," the dark theme song for television’s "The Wire.' In both cases, The Nighthawks do a stellar job. You will enjoy this album from start to finish.


REFLECTIONS IN BLUE - Reviews April 2015

The Nighthawks - Back Porch Party

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."  

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

THE NIGHTHAWKS
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.


More Back Porch Party Reviews!

jazzweekly.com

examiner.com

classicalite.com

frederickplaylist.com

parcbench.com

Falls Church News-Press

bmansbluesreport.com

 

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

 

 

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CURRENT PRESS RELEASE

NIGHTHAWKS ARTICLES & REVIEWS:

Elmore Magazine, July 2017

Roots Music Report, July 2017

Bman's Blues Report June 2017

The BluesPowR Blog, Dec 2015

NO DEPRESSION, SEPT 2015

In A Blue Mood, Sept 2015

EXAMINER, JULY 2014

FRIDAY BLUES FIX, JULY 2014

GONZO ONLINE, JULY 2014

LIVING BLUES, 2014

FAME, 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


MUZIKREVIEWS.COM

ARIZONA DAILY STAR

CROSSROADS