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Legends of Blues and Rock – “Established 1972”
On this landmark anniversary, founder, lead singer, and harpmaster, Mark Wenner, is still at the helm, while drummer Mark Stutso, guitarist Dan Hovey and bassist Paul Pisciotta all share vocals and songwriting, making this lineup on the strongest ever. Decades of gigs and countless rabid fans have earned them the name “The Best Bar Band In The World.” More than a bar band or blues band, as they’re frequently labeled, this is a band that played with Carl Perkins in addition to Muddy Waters.
Current Lineup for the Nighthawks is:
Mark Wenner: Vocals, Harmonica
Mark Stutso: Drums, Vocals
Paul Pisciotta: Bass
Dan Hovey: Guitar, Vocals
The Nighthawks was an idea in Mark Wenner’s brain long before he was able to implement it. The musical product of pre-1958 radio in Washington, D.C., he did not know there were rules against mixing blues, R&B, honky-tonk country, doo-wop, gospel and rockabilly into one delicious stew.
In 1972, Mark, then 23, returned to his hometown after a New York City band apprenticeship, eager to start a real, work-every-night band based on American roots music. He found a receptive local scene. Washington has long been a musical melting-pot of the kind that made Memphis the source point for the evolution of American music in the second half of the 20th Century. It just never had a Stax or Sun record label to tell the world. As the city exploded with an influx of people from all the surrounding states during the Great Depression and World War II, Washington became a hotbed of musical cross-fertilization. When Bill Haley first brought his wacky Pennsylvania mix of hillbilly music and rhythm and blues to D.C. in 1952, people got it. And white kids like Mark found the Howard Theater – now recently restored and part of the historic top tier of the Chitlin’ Circuit that included Baltimore’s Royal, Chicago’s Regal and New York’s Apollo – just a 25-cent bus ride away from the suburbs.
Rev. Billy C. Wirtz
Live and direct from the First House of Polyester Worship the Rev. Billy C. Wirtz is back with soul moving music and stories that only He, in his divine wisdom can bring to the great unwashed, the sinners and do-gooders alike. As we all know The Rev. usually works alone as he needs no help in bringing the truth and healing powers of his music to those in need. A very serious acoustic blues piano player in the mold of his mentor Sunnyland Slim, (and some Jerry Lee) and accomplished song writer of great depth and wit, he can boogie and preach the blues without the need of a net! But in these troubling times he has brought in the support of friends and seasoned veterans the legendary Nighthawks, whose 50 years of traveling the world has given them a keen insight into the troubles of the world. Together they raise a little hell with a plugged-in studio session’ for several tunes while the remainder of the record finds them in a live semi-acoustic setting with a lively audience. Also there to lend a hand are special guests Bobby Driver, Li’l Ronnie Owens and Steve Riggs, battle harden one and all. Featuring fan favorites with a new twist as well as new songs for the weary the CD “Full Circle” is sure to please. If you’re already a fan you know the wonderment that awaits you, if your new to his greatness then hang on for a divine time.