Since 1972 The Nighthawks have been bringing their special blend of blues, roots, and rock to fans the world over. Besides founding member Mark Wenner, past members have included Warren Haynes, Jimmy Thackery, Pete Kanaras, and Jan Zukowski among others. While they may not be known wall-to-wall, far and wide, they have a devoted following that is always growing. Not afraid to bring their music to the people, they tour consistently, winning over venue and festival goers with their gutsy and energetic performances.
The Nighthawks are Mark Wenner blowing a mean harp and singing, with Paul Bell bringing guitars to life and singing too. Johnny Castle strokes the bass and sings, and Mark Stutso caresses the skins and sings as well. Akira Otsuka plays mandolin on the album closer, “Roadside Cross.”
444, issued on EllerSoul Records, clocks in at 48 minutes and features 13 tracks of tasty, rockin’, blues and soulful goodness. Friends, we are here to tell y’all that not only are these tracks tasty, they sound great too thanks to engineers Bruce and Adrian Olsen, and mastering engineer Charlie Pilzer. The full sounding mix really presents the music well.
All the tracks on this album are jammin’ and well executed. For a band entering their fifth decade, the Nighthawks bring it, and they play it with feeling. The band is tight, and they are in the groove. 444 is a party looking for a place to break out!
Of course, we did have our favorites. “Livin’ the Blues” is a rowdy, thumpin’ roadhouse style blues that really had us stomping along. “Got A Lot of Livin'” is lively swinging blues that will have folks on the floor jitter bugging in two shakes of a lamb’s tail. “Crawfish” is a down home Cajun flavored blues with a touch of the Bayou mysterious vibe, and “Price of Love” serves up a another helping of Texas roadhouse flavored, slide driven, foot stomping good times. We also enjoyed the laid back, welcoming feel of “Nothing But The Blues,” which reminded us of the comfort of visiting an old friend. It’s a great cut, nicely played. On Muddy Waters’ “Louisiana Blues,” the band keeps things simple and acoustic, giving the track a raw and intimate feel.
Wenner and Bell play well off each other throughout, and the rhythm section of Johnny Castle and Mark Stutso keeps a steady groove. For those who enjoy a live Texas roadhouse sound with a groovin’ feel, 444 is just the ticket. Take this for a spin soon. Don’t be no square Daddy-O!