WASHINGTON, D.C. – Just like the lyric in the classic American road song “Route 66,” The Nighthawks, one of the premier American roots bands of the past 40 years, have announced they’ll be “motoring west” for their first extensive visit to the West Coast and Southwest in many years.
“The Nighthawks Motor West Tour 2010” will not only bring the band to the Southwest for shows in Phoenix and Tucson, but also to the West Coast for dates in the Los Angeles area, San Francisco and several other Bay Area markets – places they haven’t played in four to six years. The band will close the tour with dates in Colorado and the Midwest.
The vehicle for this tour is the group’s current CD, Last Train to Bluesville, released earlier this year on Rip Bang Records and recorded live and acoustic at the Sirius XM studios in Washington, D.C. The 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. Recorded with an intimate, back-porch feeling, 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.
The continuing buzz on the new CD helped propel The Nighthawks to the winners’ podium at this year’s Washington Area Music Association awards, better known as the Wammies. The group won in the Blues/Traditional R&B category for the best band and best recording for their 2009 release, American Landscape, which garnered enthusiastic reviews and substantial airplay both in blues and Americana radio formats. Guitarist Paul Bell was also nominated as best instrumentalist. In 1989, The Nighthawks were inducted into the association’s Hall of Fame.
“If there were ever a question about how the Nighthawks keep their blues-rock sound fresh after nearly 40 years together, Last Train to Bluesville gives the answer…the new acoustic setting really suits the group. The crisp recording draws the group’s instrumentation into the spotlight. ‘Can’t Be Satisfied’ growls with frustration accented by Paul Bell’s slide, while Johnny Castle’s bass gives the whole album a pronounced groove. James Brown’s ‘I’ll Go Crazy’ features vocals by departing member and longtime drummer Pete Ragusa. His fervent cry is accented by Mark Wenner’s fiery harmonica, leaving behind a swan song recording that stands out in the band’s lengthy discography.” – The Washington Post
“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.”
“…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
“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
Since the album was recorded, longtime Nighthawks drummer Pete Ragusa left to follow other pursuits. Without missing a beat, the band picked up veteran D.C.-area drummer and soul singer Mark Stutso, who’s played with a host of blues, rock and roots legends, including 18 years with former Nighthawk guitarist Jimmy Thackery and his band, the Drivers. Fans who’ve heard them—from the East Coast to Europe and the big summer blues festivals in the Midwest—agree that this is the best lineup yet.
For a bio, hi-res JPGs or to arrange an interview, contact Jill Kettles (firstname.lastname@example.org / 770-804-9555). For more information, visit http://www.thenighthawks.com.
THE NIGHTHAWKS MOTOR WEST TOUR 2010
9/30 The Rhythm Room Phoenix, AZ
10/1 Plaza Palomino Tucson, AZ
10/2 Harvelle’s Blues Club Santa Monica, CA
10/3 Nick’s Taste of Texas Covina, CA
10/5 Mickey’s Pub & Grille Ridgecrest, CA
10/6 The Crystal Bay Club – Red Room Crystal Bay, NV
10/7 Palms Playhouse Winters, CA
10/8 Biscuits & Blues San Francisco, CA
10/9 Poor House Bistro San Jose, CA
10/10 Moe’s Alley Santa Cruz, CA
10/11 The State Room Salt Lake City, UT
10/12 The Toad Tavern Littleton, CO
10/13 Boulder Outlook Hotel Boulder, CO
10/14 New Lift Lounge Omaha, NE
10/15 Knucklehead Saloon Kansas City, MO