The Nighthawks

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The Nighthawks
Mark Wenner of The Nighthawks plays amplified harmonica Harrisonburg, Virginia July 11, 2008.
Mark Wenner of The Nighthawks plays amplified harmonica
Harrisonburg, Virginia July 11, 2008.
Background information
OriginWashington, D.C., United States
Years active1972–present
MembersMark Wenner
Paul Pisciotta
Dan Hovey
Mark Stutso
Past membersJimmy Thackery
Jan Zukowski
Pete Ragusa
Warren Haynes
Jimmy Nalls
Jimmy Hall
Danny Morris
Pete Kanaras
Phil Petroff
Peter Bonta
Anton "Ace the Bass" Hansman
Larry Bolet
Bill Holland
Lee Smith

The Nighthawks are an American blues and roots music band, based in Washington, D.C. As of 2018, The Nighthawks are Mark Wenner (vocals and harmonica), Dan Hovey (lead guitar), Paul Pisciotta (bass guitar), and Mark Stutso (drums).


Formed in 1972, the Nighthawks underwent several personnel changes before stabilizing as the lineup of Mark Wenner (vocals and harmonica), Jimmy Thackery (lead guitar), Jan Zukowski (bass guitar), and Pete Ragusa (drums).[1] Their 1979 album, Full House, issued on Adelphi Records, includes guest appearances from Pinetop Perkins and Bob Margolin.[1]

Keyboard player Gregg Wetzel joined the band in 1983, was a full-time member until 1986, and has continued to play at special performances. The membership of the band remained stable until 1986. At that time, tired of the band's extensive touring schedule, Thackery departed to join 'The Assassins' (a part-time "vacation band" he helped found), eventually fronting 'The Drivers' and other groups and to record for Blind Pig Records, and Telarc Records.[1] Following his departure, several players filled the lead guitar spot. These included Jimmy Nalls, Warren Haynes, James Solberg, Danny Morris, Pete Kanaras, with Kanaras becoming the longest lasting member. Also in 1987 and 1988 the band became the Rosebud Agency's East Coast house band, backing tours with Elvin Bishop, John Lee Hooker, John Hammond, and Pinetop Perkins.

In 2003, the band featured in the first episode of the second season of The Wire.

Kanaras and Zukowski departed the band in 2004. They were replaced by Paul Bell (lead guitar) and Johnny Castle (bass guitar). The Nighthawks won the Traditional Blues/R&B Duo/Group Award at the 2009 Washington Area Music Awards. In 2011, their album, Last Train to Bluesville won the Acoustic Album of the Year at the 32nd Blues Music Awards, sponsored by the Blues Foundation.

In 2011, they signed with Severn Records.[2] Then the band released a number of albums on Richmond's EllerSoul label including a Reverend Billy C. Wirtz release.

In 2018 Johnny Castle and Paul Bell left the band to be replaced by Paul Pisciotta on bass and Dan Hovey on guitar. They recorded Tryin To Get To You at Severn Studio in Annapolis, MD with David Earl co-producing and engineering in 2019 and released it on EllerSoul, spring 2020 in time for national lockdown. They are currently back in Severn working on new product including four Dan Hovey originals and two Mark Stutso originals. Tentative title is 49/50 since the band will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2022.


Year Title Album details
1974 Rock 'n' Roll Released 1974, 1983, and 1990. Label: Aladdin ALPS-101, Format: LP
1976 Open All Nite Released 1976 and 1995, Label: Adelphi AD-4105 Format: LP
1976 Live at the PsycheDelly Released 1976 and 1995, Label: Adelphi AD-4110 Format: LP
1977 Side Pocket Shot Released 1977 and 1997, Label: Adelphi AD-4115 Format: LP
1978 Jacks & Kings Released 1978 Label: Adelphi AD-4125 Format: LP
1982 Full House – Jacks & Kings Vol I & II Released 1990 Label: Genes 4120/25 Format: CD
1980 The Nighthawks Released 1980 Label: Mercury SRM 1-3833 Format: LP
1982 Ten Years Live Released 1982 Label: Chesapeake CRLP-101 Format: LP
1984 Hot Spot Released 1984 Label: Varrick VR-009 Format: LP
1986 Hard Living Released 1986 Label: Varrick VR-022, CD-022 Format: LP/CD
1988 Backtrack – Live Released 1988 Label:Varrick VR-036 Format: LP
1987 Live in Europe Released 1987 and 1992 Label: Crosscut CCR-1014, CCD-11014 Format: LP/CD
1988 Best of the Blues Released 1988 Label: Adelphi AD-4140 Format: LP
1988 Best of the Rock Released 1988 Label: Adelphi AD-4145 Format: LP
1988 Best of the Nighthawks Released 1988 Label: Genes 4140/45 Format: CD
1991 Trouble Released 1991 Label: Powerhouse POW-4107 Format: LP/CD
1993 Rock This House Released 1993 Label: Big Mo 1023-2 Format: CD
1996 Pain & Paradise Released 1996 and 2002 Label: Big Mo 1030-2, Ruf 1080 Format: CD
1997 Times Four Released 1997 Label: Adelphi AD-4130/35 Format: CD
1999 Still Wild Released 1999 Label: Ruf 1037 Format: CD
2002 Live Tonite! Released 2002 Label: Ruf 1079 Format: CD
2004 Live at the State Theater with Special Guest Hubert Sumlin Released 2004 Label: Rolling Storm Communications RSC-0505 Format: DVD
2006 Blue Moon in Your Eye (Live at the Barns at Wolf Trap) Released 2006 Label: Rolling Storm Communications RSC-0601 Format: CD
2009 American Landscape Released 2009 Label: Powerhouse 126 Format: CD
2010 Last Train to Bluesville Released 2010 Label: Rib Band RBR-003 Format: CD
2012 Damn Good Time Released 2010 Label: Severn SEVCD-56 Format: CD
2014 444 Released 2014 Label: EllerSoul 1405 Format: CD
2015 Back Porch Party Released 2015 Label: EllerSoul 1505 Format: CD
2017 All You Gotta Do Released 2017 Label: EllerSoul 1707 Format: CD
2021 Tryin to Get to You Released 2021 Label: EllerSoul 20202 Format: CD
2022 Established 1972 Released 2022 Label: VizzTone VTNH-01 Format: CD

Other releases featuring the Nighthawks[edit]

  • Hot TracksJohn Hammond and the Nighthawks (1979, Vanguard)
  • Bad Boy "Live" – Oki and the Nighthawks (1984)
  • Your Name Here – The Nighthawks Minus Mark (2014, Ellersoul)
  • Full Circle – Rev. Billy C. Wirtz and the Nighthawks (2016, EllerSoul)
  • Flying High – Gabe Stillman and the Nighthawks (2020)

Mark Wenner solo albums[edit]

  • Fugitive – with "Switchblade" (1984, Whitewall)
  • Nothin' But... – with "The Bel Airs" (1989, Powerhouse)
  • Runs Good, Needs Paint (2000, Right On Rhythm)
  • Mama Tried – with "The Bel Airs" (2002, Right On Rhythm)
  • Mark Wenner's Blues Warriors (2018, EllerSoul)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues – From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books Limited. pp. 150–151. ISBN 1-85868-255-X.
  2. ^ Gordon, Keith A. (Nov 11, 2011). "Severn Records Goes to the Birds".; Blues. Archived from the original on April 19, 2012. Retrieved 2011-11-14.

External links[edit]