Legendary Blues Band – The Nighthawks
The definitive film about The Nighthawks, America’s hardest-working blues band. The Nighthawks inhabit the soul of blues music. Founded in Washington, D.C. more than 40 years ago by Little Walter-disciple Mark Wenner and guitar wizard Jimmy Thackery, the band thrives on its direct link to the great blues masters, having played with legends such as Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Gregg Allman, Pinetop Perkins, James Cotton, and John Lee Hooker. The film celebrates the band’s joyous blues music and its deep roots in Washington D.C. while spelling out the struggles of keeping a band afloat for more than four decades. Scheming record producers, weary days on the road, the changing fortunes of the blues and conflict in the band threaten to sink the band. But The Nighthawks soldier on, carrying the torch of the blues into the 21st century. Featuring original interviews with blues legends, critics, and Nighthawks past and present, the film is the first of its kind about this band with a national and international reputation. It also features rare archival film, photographs, and music, as well as behind-the-scenes footage and newly-shot live performances in venues across the country.
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. The current members bring decades of varied experience to the stage and studio. Paul Bell has played in many influential bands around the Nation’s Capital and is the consummate D.C. guitarist, capable of soul scratching or country picking. Paul was less familiar with the classic Robert Lockwood/Louis Myers styles of Chicago blues playing than some of his predecessors, but it didn’t take long for him to add those to his bag of tricks. When he plays a slow blues solo, you can hear a little of late D.C. picker Roy Buchanan, but without the tortured hysterics. Paul spent 10 years working with legendary blue-eyed soul man and keyboardist Tommy Lepson, who subbed for Mark Wenner on a number of dates this year while Mark recovered from open-heart surgery.