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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!


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Showing posts with label EllerSoul Records. Show all posts
Showing posts with label EllerSoul Records. Show all posts

Thursday, June 11, 2020

EllerSoul Records artist: The Nighthawks - Tryin' To Get To You - New Release Review

I Just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Tryin' To Get To You, from The Nighthawks and it's energy packed. Opening with Come Love, the Nighthawks have a new lead guitar player, Dan Hovey who also covers lead vocals. With Mark Wenner on lead vocal and harmonica, Mark Stutso on drums and lead vocal and Paul Pisciotta on bass and vocal, these guys can harmonize. I Know Your Wig Is Gone has a real nice shuffle pace with lead vocal by Hovey and giving both Wenner and Hovey a nice opportunity to show their skills. Very nice. Rain Down tears is one of my favorite tracks on the release with it dark easy pace and solid vocals by the crew. The guys vocal blending is strong and Wenner and Hovey each take fluid solos adding to the tension. Very nice. Chairman of the Board is a cool blues rocker with a drone bass line (we all love them) and alternating guitar and harmonica soloing and some of my favorite lead vocals on the release by Stutso . Wrapping the release is The Cheap Stuff, a clever little blues number with cool lyrics by Hovey over acoustic guitar and harmonica with only basic drum and bass. This is a solid release with a little bit of something for everyone. 

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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

EllerSoul Records artists: The Nighthawks - All You Gotta Do - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, All You Gotta Do, from The Nighthawks legendary blues & roots band and it's quite good. Opening with Jerry Reed's power rocker and title track, That's All You Gotta Do, the band is humming right from the start with Mark Wenner on harp, Paul Bell on guitar, Johnny Castle on bass and Mark Stutso on drums. Hot! On Willie Dixon's, Baby, I Want To Be Loved, the band really has the spirit of Dixon's blues and Wenner's riffs are crisp and smoky. On Randy Newman's Let's Burn Down The Cornfield the band explores the darkness of the blues with super slide work by Bell, nice harp by Wenner and super vocals over a well paced blues rocker. On Sonny Williamson's shuffle track, Ninety Nine, it's all Wenner who really does a nice job of working the harp. Excellent. On original soul track, Three Times A Fool, the band digs deeply into the groove with hot vocals and cool reverb soaked guitar work. Jesse Winchester's Isn't That So has a cool R&B feel and great vocal harmonies over a Tony Joe White feel. Country flavored riffs by Bell and lightly salted harp riffs dress the track nicely. My favorite track on the release is RL Burnside's Snake Drive with saturated guitar tones and super slide riffs, tight harp adds and a great bass/drum feel. Excellent! Wenner's composition, Blues for Brother John has a real cool saunter and gives him an excellent opportunity to blow over a solid bottom and walking bass line. Paul Bell injects some real clean jazz flavor on guitar giving the track a cool feel. Very nice. Standell's hit, Dirty Water wraps the release in pretty straight order. Bell explores classic guitar riffs from the sixties including the Stones and The Yardbirds capping a fun release. 

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Blues Music Award-Winning Band, The Nighthawks, Display Their Versatility on New CD, "All You Gotta Do," Coming July 21 on EllerSoul Records



Blues Music Award-Winning Band, The Nighthawks, Display Their Versatility on New CD, All You Gotta Do, Coming July 21 on EllerSoul Records

WASHINGTON, DC – Legendary blues and roots band (and Blues Music Award winners) The Nighthawks, announce a July 21 release date for their new CD,
All You Gotta Do.

The band is also enjoying critical acclaim for Michael Streissguth’s award-winning documentary film about their history, The Nighthawks – On the Blue Highway, which is now available on DVD from the group’s website, as well as Amazon.com. The film will also be screened prior to the ‘Hawks’ June 30 performance at the Creative Alliance at the Patterson in Baltimore.      

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.”
     
The new disc opens with Mark Wenner's rocking version of Brenda Lee's title track, the kind of pop rockabilly that was in full swing at the end of the ‘50s. Mark Stutso proceeds to give a moving interpretation of Levon Helm's personal farewell, “When I Go Away.” Wenner follows with the always mandatory Muddy Waters song, with no attempt to be anything other than the Chicago Blues.
     
Randy Newman's “Burn Down the Cornfield” was learned by the band for a D.C. multi-band performance of his songs for band house gigs. Johnny Castle steps into the fray with “Another Day” that can only be described as a modern day protest piece from his own pen, and Stutso follows with his own tale of the tortures of love with “Voo Doo Doll.” Wenner gives a thumping take on the Sonny Boy Williamson rocker, “Ninety Nine,” using the big C 12 hole Marine Band harmonica honking in the lower register. The heart-wrenching ballad, “Three Times Your Fool,” gleaned from his solo CD and written with his Pittsburgh collaborator, Norman Nardini, is sung as only Mark Stutso can.
     
Mark Wenner got a chance to sit in on Jesse Winchester's "Isn't That So" at a casual jam. Remembering almost all the lyrics, he tried singing it.  At the next Hawks' sound check, the harmonies fell right into place and it became a part of the repertoire. The band takes a fun romp of R.L. Burnside's “Snake Drive,” changing the groove from Hill Country Mississippi to D.C. Go Go, followed by a funny take on “Frere Jacques,” titled “Blues for Brother John.” This melody is one that Wenner uses to teach precise note bending in cross harp position. The final track shows off Johnny Castle, for all the styles he has played, to be the true King of Garage Rock in his salute to Washington D.C. on “Dirty Water.”
     
Although he sings no lead, Paul Bell is a major voice in the harmonies and shows off his ability to function freely in any of style of picking, from the snazzy jazzy licks on “Brother John” to the screaming slide on “Cornfield.”

But before we take any of this too seriously, in the famous words of Hound Dog Taylor, “Let's have some fun!”




Nighthawks Tour Itinerary
6/23     Tally Ho Theater                                                         Leesburg, VA
6/24     Rommel Harley-Davidson                                          Annapolis, MD
6/30     Creative Alliance at the Patterson                              Baltimore, MD
7/1       Abingdon July Festival (w/Bob Margolin)                 Abingdon, VA
7/7       New York State Blues Festival (w/Bob Margolin)     Syracuse, NY
7/8       Black Rock Performing Arts Center                           Germantown, MD
7/21     Bright Box Theater                                                     Winchester, VA
7/26     Lee District Nights                                                     Alexandria, VA
7/28     Jilly’s Music Room                                                     Akron, OH
7/29     Rip Rap Roadhouse Festival (w/James Solberg)        Dayton, OH
8/4       Hiawatha River Cruise                                                Williamsport, PA
8/5       Gotta Swing Dance/Spanish Ballroom                       Glen Echo, MD
8/11     Jammin’ Java                                                               Vienna, VA
8/12     Apple Mountain Motorcycle Rally (w/Foghat)          Little Orleans, MD
8/19     Rollin’ on the River                                                    Keokuk, IA
8/25     TGIF Concerts                                                            Wheaton, MD
8/26     Old Glory Harley-Davidson                                       Laurel, MD
8/27     Verdun Adventure Bound                                          Rixeyville, VA
9/2       Blue Note Grille (w/Rev. Billy C. Wirtz)                   Durham, NC
9/16     Niagara Falls Blues Festival                                        Niagara Falls, NY


Additional dates forthcoming ….