The Nighthawks

The Nighthawks
444

EllerSoul Records

By Georgetown Fats
July 2014

Just in time for the summer BBQ season is the release of 444 by The Nighthawks. Having refined their sound over a 50 year career, The Nighthawks pay homage to that line between blues and roots rock by sprinting over said line repeatedly.

On the opening track “Walking That Walk” it is hard not to hear that Diamond David Lee Roth lounge sound out of singer/harpist Mark Wenner. Disconcerting at first, once I was able to determine the sound “Walk That Walk” has an infectious quality to it. Wenner’s ability peppers his singing with some spoken lyrics, accents it all with an understated distorted blues harp solo is entirely refreshing. There is not a drop of senseless shredding to interfere with a BIG groove.

While the main topic of the second track is a cliche, The Nighthawk’s “Livin’ The Blues” is convincing. Guitarist Paul Bell, bassist Johnny Castle and drummer Mark Stutso create a deliciously fat pocket by playing collectively so far behind the beat they hit ‘their one’ as the click of a metronome’s one would be just about fading away. It creates a sleazy sound which is deceptively hard to replicate in lesser hands by lesser musicians.

Plowing the fields of rock & roll is “No Secrets”, The Nighthawks suspend the swing feel for some straight 8th and 16th notes. While I am sure The Nighthawks fan base prefers their danceable numbers, The Nighthawks certainly have the chops to book at biker bars too.

Having survived five decades in the music business is truly remarkable. With material like 444 still being produced by The Nighthawks there is many more years left in this act.

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