CLICK ON TITLE BELOW TO GO TO PURCHASE!!!! CD submissions accepted! Guest writers always welcome!!

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!

Please email me at
Showing posts with label Nighthawks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nighthawks. Show all posts

Monday, May 4, 2015

Eller Soul Records artist: The Nighthawks - Back Porch Party - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Back Porch Party, from The Nighthawks and I really like it. Recorded live at Montrose Studio in Richmond Virginia, this release keeps the volume nice and easy but the enthusiasm is high. Opening with Rock This House, Mark Wenner has got the harp cooking and, Wenner, Paul Bell (guitar), Johnny Castle (bass) and Mark Stutso (drums) harmonize nicely on vocals. Bell tosses in his own jazz filled riffs on guitar for a nice topper. Hot start! On Walkin' After Midnight, The Nighthawks get a easy pace, Wenner taking center stage on vocal and harp. Down In The Hole has a Latin rhythm with Bell emphasizing the tempo. The band breaks into a smooth shuffle and Wenner carries a nice harp solo throughout. Ike Turner's Matchbox is up next with a R&B swing. I really like Wenner's harp solo on this track which almost takes off. Bell gets a cool swing going on guitar as well with some dynamic chords. Super! Willie Dixon's Tiger In Your Tank is up next with it's fast paced rock beat. Bell takes one of his nicest solos on the release on this track blending picking and slide for a hot run. Bassist Johnny Castle's Jana Lee is a real rock and roller with a solid driving beat. The Nighthawks preserved a lot of Muddy Waters Rollin' Stone track with it's honest original feel. Swing rocker, Guard Your Heart, has Wenner back center stage with a real nice harp roll. Certainly one of my favorite tracks on the release. Down To My Last Million Tears is an old school blues rockers. Stutso's drum work does a lot to emphasize the pace and both Wenner and Bell take nice leads on the track. Fast paced rock a billy track Hey Miss Hey really lets Wenner cook on harp. A fast paced blues run by Bell and Castles driving bass runs pushed by Stutso gives this track a tight feel. Otis Hicks' Rooster Blues is a great rocker with Bell taking guitar solos and Wenner punctuating his phrases and then Wenner dishing out his own heat. Very nice! Wrapping the release is Back to The City, a smoking rocker with Wenner leading the way. This is a really nice jam with a great pace set by Bell and Wenner going over the top on harp and even a cool bass solo by Castle. Hot!

  If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! ”LIKE”


Monday, May 5, 2014

The Nighthawks Are Back with a New CD, "444," on a New Label, EllerSoul Records, Coming June 17

The Nighthawks Are Back with a New CD, 444, on a New Label, EllerSoul Records, Coming June 17

In their Fifth Decade, America’s Seminal American Roots Music Band Remains Vibrant & a Must-See Live Performance Group

WASHINGTON, DC – America’s favorite roots music band, The Nighthawks, announce a June 17 release date for their latest album, 444, on EllerSoul Records, their label debut. Produced by the band and recorded at Montrose Studio in Richmond, Virginia, 444 is jam-packed with 13 tracks of blues, soul, rock ‘n’ roll and roadhouse country music – all given the trademark Nighthawks combination of talent, passion, energy and showmanship that has made the Blues Music Award winners a truly one-of-a-kind live listening experience, conveniently packaged on disc and ready to take home to enjoy.

Now in their fifth decade of recording and live performing, the 21st century Nighthawks are a tight, cohesive unit – the kind that comes only from years and miles. Guitarist Paul Bell and bassist Johnny Castle have been in the band for more than a decade; drummer Mark Stutso, the “new kid,” is starting his fifth year; and singer/harmonica player Mark Wenner is counting 40-plus. The nightly consensus from fans is that this version of The Nighthawks is the best ever. The concept that was mapped out in the liner notes of their 1974 debut recording, Rock and Roll, has grown into a powerful expression of the American musical tradition.
444 draws from the deep roots the band has always mined: an organic mix of originals and classic cover tunes. Some are well known, like Muddy Waters’ “Louisiana Blues,” and some more obscure, like the Du Droppers’ “Walk That Walk.” But they all blend to make a rich American stew. “Honky Tonk Queen,” a Wenner original that sounds as if it could have come from an old Rolling Stones’ session outtake; “No Secrets,” (another Wenner song) and “Price of Love” (written by The Everly Brothers) are previously recorded Nighthawks songs presented here with new depth and breadth. “The King” is well-represented on the new disc, as well. Two early Elvis Presley movie numbers -- “Got a Lot of Livin’” the final song in his 1957 film, Lovin’ You (which Elvis sings out in the audience that includes his mother Gladys) and “Crawfish,” which opens his 1958 movie, King Creole -- date from the magic period in the 1950s when Mark Wenner was most under the spell of the radical new star.

Johnny Castle contributes three originals to 444, including the hard-charging “444 A.M.” that gives the new CD its title. “High Snakes,” a swampy, haunting cry of lost love, was written and recorded by Johnny and his former DC-cohort, guitarist Bill Kirchen. Johnny’s lovely “Roadside Cross,” is unusual for The Nighthawks and gives the otherwise rockin' CD a gentle and beautiful finish. It also features the only guest appearance on the album, the delicate mandolin part by Akira Otsuka, a pal of Johnny’s from his bluegrass days.

Mark Stutso borrowed a bluegrass original from his brother-in-law and turned it into a Texas funk groove in “You're Gone.” For “Nothin' but the Blues,” he drew on his friendship with Grammy-winner Gary Nicholson. The band had learned “Livin' the Blues” backing up on a tour with Tracy Nelson, who co-wrote it with Gary. Mark Wenner takes the lead vocal on the “Hawks version, with just one little word change.

As always, the essential flavors and textures of this rich American stew come from the electric and acoustic guitar work of the incomparable Paul Bell, who continues to thrive in his role as lead guitarist, forever expanding his horizons on the instrument with the best of tone and taste.

Almost every Nighthawks recording has featured at least one Muddy Waters tune, and 444 is no exception. This time the band showcases its acoustic version of Muddy's “Louisiana Blues” (staying close to the country blues tone of Muddy’s original version), recalling their Blues Music Award-winning acoustic release, Last Train to Bluesville, and Muddy's live introduction on the band’s Open All Night album. As the legend said that night way back when, “They have a beautiful name. They are THE NIGHTHAWKS.”

The Nighthawks are booked by Blue Mountain artists ( To watch the trailer for their upcoming 2015 documentary film, “The Nighthawks: That Band on the Blue Highway,” directed by Michael Streissguth, click on this link:

For more information on the band, visit


5/7                         The Zoo Bar                                                                                        Lincoln, NE
5/8                         21st Saloon                                                                                          Omaha, NE
5/9                         Uncle Bo’s T-Town Bar – Ramada Inn Downtown              Topeka, KS
5/16                       Bright Box Theatre                                                                          Winchester, VA
5/7                         Poolesville Springfest                                                                     Poolesville, MD
5/29                       34th Annual Herndon Festival                                                      Herndon, VA
5/30                       Ramshead Tavern                                                                            Annapolis, MD
6/7                         National Whitewater Center                                                       Charlotte, NC
6/20                       The Birchmere                                                                                 Alexandria, VA
6/22                       Capital Ale House Music Hall (CD Release – 6pm)               Richmond, VA    .
6/26                       Thunder in the Valley                                                                     Johnstown, PA
6/27                       Blues, Brews & BBQ Festival                                                        Charleston, WV
6/28                       The State Theatre                                                                            Culpepper, VA
7/4                         Evenings on Main                                                                            Luray, VA
7/5                         High Tides on Potomac                                                                  Colonial Beach, VA
7/6                         A Blues Night Out – Bethesda Blues & Jazz                           Bethesda, MD
7/20                       Gilligan’s Pier                                                                                     Newberg, MD
7/26                       Peekskill Rock & Blues Festival                                                   Peekskill, NY

Tuesday, August 7, 2012






WASHINGTON, DC – Severn Records artists The Nighthawks, whose label debut CD, Damn Good Time, is generating rave reviews and extensive radio airplay, are joining forces with their good friends and musical compadres, the Forty Fours, for a series of special East Coast shows in September. Damn Good Time is the follow-up to The Nighthawks’ Last Train to Bluesville, which garnered the band its first-ever Blues Music Award from the Blues Foundation as Acoustic Blues Album of the Year in May 2011.

The Nighthawks and the Forty Fours were born on opposite coasts 35 years apart but both bands ultimately share the same goals: to breathe new life into the deep roots of American music and perform it with an exciting vitality in today’s world. Both bands take the essential quartet format, harp, guitar, bass and drums that evolved in Chicago in the 1950s and spread to both coasts. Now, both bands come together for a five day East Coast run that should shake the walls and rattle the halls. Kicking off at one of The Nighthawks’ home venues, the State Theatre in Falls Church, Virginia, on Wednesday September 5; the show will set the Forty Fours up for a visit to XM/Sirius studios in nearby Washington, DC, for a live recording session with Bluesville’s Bill Wax on Thursday. That night, the entourage will move up to the Baltimore area for a WTMD-FM- sponsored outdoor event in West Mt. Vernon Park. Friday the 7th will find both bands at the Sellersville Theater in Upper Bucks County Pennsylvania, midway between Philly and the Allentown area. Saturday’s show will be part of the Niagara Falls Blues Festival, Toby Rotella’s annual Imperial Garage Reunion concert. The Forty Fours will precede John Primer and The Nighthawks will also back up blues legend James Cotton. Sunday, September 9, will close the grand event at Sticky Lips BBQ near Rochester, New York. The Nighthawks will then head back to the DC area for some regional dates before embarking on a three-week European tour and the Forty Fours head into the Midwest working their way back towards California.

“There are many connections between these two bands besides their mutual love for the music,” says Nighthawks founder and singer/harpist Mark Wenner. “I first met Forty Fours harp player Tex Nakamura in 1983 in Tokyo, during The Nighthawks first venture into the far east with Japan’s bluesmaster Toru Oki. We have kept in close touch and when Tex moved to LA and began travelling with the band WAR we were able to spend a lot more time together. Both bands have collaborated with the great west coast guitar slinger Kid Ramos. Kid not only played on the current Forty Fours’ release, Americana, but produced it as well. During Kid’s stint with the Fabulous Thunderbirds, he and I met and discovered a mutual interest in older American motorcycles that led to some non-music related projects; but The Nighthawks were able to host several dates for Los Fabulocos during Kid’s tenure with them, as well as bringing Kid himself east for some special guest performances. On the last west coast run for The Nighthawks, the Forty Fours and Los Fabulocos hosted the ‘Hawks for an incredible triple bill at Nick’s Taste of Texas in Covina, California. As of last week, both bands’ current CDs were flying high on XM/Sirius Bluesville's charts.”

For a hi-res photo and bio on The Nighthawks, or to arrange an interview with Mark Wenner, contact Jill Kettles at

For more on the Forty Fours, visit


Sept.5: State Theatre - Falls Church, VA
Sept 6: WTMD-FM Outdoor Event – Timonium, MD (Baltimore)
Sept.7: Sellersville Theater – Sellersville, PA
Sept.8: Niagara Falls Blues Festival – Niagara Falls, NY
Sept.9: Sticky Lips BBQ – Henrietta, NY (Rochester)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

I Wish You Would - The Nighthawks

The Nighthawks are an American blues and roots music band, based in Washington, D.C. The Nighthawks currently are Mark Wenner (vocals and harmonica), Paul Bell (lead guitar), Johnny Castle (bass guitar), and Mark Stutso (drums). Beginning with dates in February 2010, Stutso replaced longtime drummer Pete Ragusa who announced his departure earlier in the year.
Formed in 1972, the Nighthawks underwent several personnel changes before stabilizing as the lineup of Mark Wenner (vocals and harmonica), Jimmy Thackery (lead guitar), Jan Zukowski (bass guitar), and Pete Ragusa (drums). Their 1979 album, Full House, issued on Adelphi Records, had guest appearances from Muddy Waters' sidemen, Pinetop Perkins and Bob Margolin.

Keyboard player Greg Wetzel joined the band in 1983, was a full-time member until 1986, and has continued to play at special performances as an "alumni" of the band. The membership of the band remained stable until 1986. At that time, tired of the band's extensive touring schedule, Thackery departed to front his own groups, most recently the Drivers, and record for Blind Pig Records and Telarc Records. Following his departure, several players filled the lead guitar spot. These included Jimmy Nalls, Warren Haynes, Danny Morris, Pete Kanaras, with Kanaras becoming the longest lasting member.

Kanaras and Zukowski departed the band in 2004. They were replaced by Paul Bell (lead guitar) and Johnny Castle (bass guitar). The Nighthawks won the Traditional Blues/R&B Duo/Group Award at the 2009 Washington Area Music Awards.