WASHINGTON, DC – The Nighthawks, one of the premier American roots bands of the last four decades, have announced the February 9 release of Last Train to Bluesville on Rip Bang Records, recorded live and acoustic at the Sirius/XM Satellite Radio studios in Washington, DC. The new album features down-home versions of 10 blues classics from such artists as Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley, Slim Harpo, Chuck Berry, Sonny Boy Williamson and James Brown, among others. Recorded live with the intimate feeling of a back porch setting, Last Train to Bluesville bristles with all the energy of a live gig and the world-class performances that fans from around the world have come to expect from The Nighthawks.
Last Train to Bluesville follows the band’s universally-lauded American Landscape album released in early 2009, which generated rave reviews from the press and substantial airplay both at blues and Americana radio stations.
The new album also serves as a swan song for long-time member, drummer Pete Ragusa, who is departing the band to follow other pursuits. Joining the band on drums and vocals is veteran DC-area musician Mark Stutso, who’s played with a host of blues, rock and roots legends, including a recent long-running spot as drummer with former Nighthawk guitarist Jimmy Thackery and the Drivers.
“It’s been an incredibly wild 35-year ride with Pete,” said Mark Wenner, founding member and singer/harmonica player of The Nighthawks. “I wish him the very best in his new endeavors and he will be missed. We are going to make the most of the situation and with the addition of Mark Stutso on drums and vocals, we will be restructuring every- thing but keeping the spirit alive in which the band was conceived. The Nighthawks will rock on.”
“After 35 years of putting my body and soul into The Nighthawks, it’s time to take the opportunity to move on,” said Ragusa in a statement, “and work on the projects and make the records I’ve always wanted to make but haven’t had time to do.” Ragusa added that he looks forward to producing other artists as well as continuing to perform as a sideman in the Washington, D.C. area. In closing, Ragusa said, “Finally, thanks to my musical brother, Mark Wenner, for the partnership we’ve enjoyed all these years… and before Mark, to my parents for buying me that first snare drum.”
In addition to Mark Wenner on harp and vocals and Pete Ragusa on drums and vocals, the band lineup on Last Train to Bluesville includes Paul Bell on guitar and vocals and Johnny Castle on bass and vocals. The set list for the new CD includes versions of a number of songs that have become “standards” in a Nighthawks set, as well as several that fans may not have heard in some time.
Last Train to Bluesville Track Listing:
1) The Chicken and the Hawk (Up, Up and Away)
2) Nineteen Years Old
3) I’ll Go Crazy
4) You Don’t Love Me
5) Rainin’ in My Heart
6) Can’t be Satisfied
7) Thirty Days
8) Mighty Long Time
9) High Temperature
10) Rollin’ and Tumblin
As always, The Nighthawks will continue to tour constantly all over the world, with special dates including a CD release show on February 13 at the Ramshead Tavern in Annapolis, Maryland; a series of Florida dates in March; and a European tour in May. The Nighthawks are booked by Blue Mountain Artists http://www.bluemountainartists.com.
For more information, visit http://www.thenighthawks.com.