2010 has been a landmark year in many ways for seminal American roots band The Nighthawks, culminating with the announcement last Wednesday from the Blues Foundation that the group has received its first-ever Blues Music Award nomination. The band’s February 9, 2010 release on Rip Bang Records, Last Train to Bluesville, recorded live at Sirius XM satellite radio studios in Washington, has been nominated as Acoustic Album of the Year. 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, among others. Recorded 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 Nighthawks fans from around the world have come to expect. The 2011 Blues Music Awards will be presented in Memphis, Tennessee, on May 5.
For more info, read the whole press release.
Pete Ragusa has decided to leave The Nighthawks after a fabulous 35-year run. There is no doubt that Pete’s departure is a big loss and he will be missed. The Nighthawks are incredibly lucky to have gained Mark Stutso – a great drummer and a great vocalist (both lead and harmony) and former drummer with Jimmy Thackery and the Drivers (for 18 years). Mark has been rehearsing and playing with the band since Pete’s departure and The Nighthawks are taking full advantage of this change to take the band to a new level.
The Nighthawks are happy to announce their new CD, “Last Train to Bluesville.” It was recorded live this year at B.B. King’s Bluesville channel on Sirius/XM satellite radio. Some of the tracks have already received airplay as Bluesville’s “Homemade Blues Jams.”
The session was done without amps or electric instruments. Paul Bell played his beautiful National Steel resonator guitar, Johnny Castle thumped his Clevenger upright bass, Pete Ragusa used brushes on a parade snare drum and Mark Wenner blasted away on his custom-tuned Hohner harmonicas without a mic! Although many of the tunes have been on previous Nighthawks recordings, we never played them like this. The selections lean bluesy, with several Muddy Waters classics plus Little Walter and Sonny Boy, along with Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry and James Brown.