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I’m still here!

March 23, 2010

Not only has another year drained away, 1/4 of this year is already gone! What happened? Sorry about the delay in reporting the goings-on in the world of Johnny C. The year started with the release in Feb. of The Nighthawks “American Landscape” CD that got great national airplay and excellent reviews. The CD features two songs written by your old pal Johnny, “Where Do You Go (When You Go Where You Go Without Me)?” a funky R&B number, and “Jana Lea”, a rockin’ “Swing-a-Billy” tune about the delightful Mrs. Castle. Of the top 50 National Blues releases last year, the record was ranked 30th.

Life adhered to the usual road pounding lifestyle most expect from the Nighthawks. Some highlights include a Hudson River Cruise in Manhattan packed with blues fans to hear the ‘Hawks back up Pinetop Perkins and Hubert Sumlin. Another was a slew of gigs with Bobby Radcliff, DC guitarist who relocated to NYC decades ago. Mark Wenner talked him into coming down to DC to throw in with the ‘Hawks for their Thanksgiving week gigs. Talk about Hot!

No sooner do listeners get “American Landscape” digested, here comes “Last Train From Bluesville”! Bill Wax, XM Bluesville program director, had invited the Nighthawks to come play in their studio, to do a couple tunes that XM/Sirius could play on their Deep Cuts channel. Things went well, and an hour and 10 songs later they had a disc that would become the next Nighthawks CD. “Last Train To Bluesville” the first all acoustic CD by the Nighthawks was released in Feb. 2010. It has been met with rave reviews (Blues Underground Network gave it a 5 star rating and had it at #2 Nationally the week of 3/8/10) and generous airplay.

2010 will find the ‘Hawks in Europe most of the month of May, and a West Coast trip later in the Fall of 2010, as well as a Hubert Sumlin gig in Switzerland in November. Click on News & Tours on the Nighthawks website, for a look at where they’ll be, and check the new ‘Hawks facebook page…almost 1,000 friends in the first week!

How about those Thrillbillys! They also are finishing up a new CD, mostly original tunes recorded at Actiondale studio, Annandale, VA. They are still holding down Thursdays at the Sunset Grille, and doing the occasional Private Party when the schedule permits. One tune of Johnny’s, “Chrome Naked Girls” will feature Tele-King Bill Kirchen at his Dieselbilly best!

Speaking of Bill Kirchen, his newest CD features guests Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello, Maria Muldaur, Dan Hicks, Paul Carrack, and Johnny thumping the bass for all. It should be out by the Summer 2010 as well! Keep Listening!

Still Alive and Well

May 28, 2009

Hey peeps! Sorry for the delay in news updates, but what can I say…..been busy! 2009 began with a bang when the Nighthawks played the State Theatre (Falls Church,VA) with beloved friends and reunited bands, the Charlottesville Allstars, and D.C.’s the Rosslyn Mtn. Boys. Two days later Banannie & I arrived in OK to visit my home folks; Mom, Sis, Son and Grandson #4! We got to watch my Oklahoma Sooners fall in defeat yet again in a National Championship game. What is it 4 since we won in 2000? Congrats to the Gators and their fans. The Sooners do claim the Heisman Trophy winner, QB Sam Bradford, and the Naismith award winner, F Blake Griffin! Congratulations to them!

Back to DC in time for the Inauguration of the new Prez, Barack Obama, and a couple of gigs with old pals Bill Kirchen and Jack O’Dell, including a sold out Too Much Fun reunion at the famed Birchmere in Alexandria, VA.

My Nighthawks schedule resumed in late Jan., but was temporarily interrupted when the ‘Hawks gave me permission to go to London, U.K. to help Bill record his next CD. Jack, Bill, Austin Delone and I knocked out 13 tunes in 10 days, mostly Kirchen originals. The album will feature guests Nick Lowe, Paul Carrack, Elvis Costello, Jorma Kaukonen, Maria Muldaur, and Dan Hicks amongst others. The project was hosted by Malcolm Mills, the president and owner of Proper Records, and Paul “Bassman” Reilly (Balam Alligators, Nick Lowe, Rockpile) Producer and Engineer. We recorded at Proper Records warehouse where they have a really nifty studio.

Jack & I flew back into DC where my regular Thrillbilly Thursday nite awaited. Next day the Nighthawks whisked me away for the weekend and a few days later we were off to FL for Bike Week festivities and a 2 week tour. February also witnessed the release of the new Nighthawks CD, “American Landscape”, which has been getting national airplay as well as support on XM’s Bluesville and Deep Cuts channels (Thanks guys!) The reviews are in, and are 100% positive, most believing (along with the Nighthawks) “American Landscape” to be the best Nighthawks CD ever.

The Nighthawks have been hitting the road, with a 2 week road trip in April that found us hitting NC, TN, IN, IA, NE, & AR. Indianapolis was great, we got to see old DC pal ( and my webmaster & brother in bass) Lane Baldwin who drove 90 miles one way with his new wife to hear us. Another highlight was the Zoo Bar in Lincoln, NE! The place was packed, the crowd and band were way into it and I sadly remembered that it used to always be like this. We returned home to a weekend with Hubert Sumlin in mid-May, including our local and favorite festival The Chesapeake Bay Blues Festival. Right on the Beach of the Bay, we shared the bill with Lydia Pense & Cold Blood (I saw them in 1969!!) they were hot and tight! Shemekia Copeland, Johnny Lang, Blood Sweat & Tears, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and Los Lonely Boys.

Memorial Day weekend just passed and we did the usual Rolling Thunder gigs that speckle the weekend around DC. Reportedly a half million motorcycles road to the Wall that Sunday!

Meanwhile the Thrillbillys are still holding court at the old Sunset Grille (comin’ up on my 18th anniversary there!) in Annandale, VA, and have resumed work on our next CD, a studio CD with numerous originals on it. Speaking next CD’s, the Nighthawks are already planning our next release, which is already recorded (at XM studios, DC) and is totally acoustic and live.

I have a busy Summer. So far, no weekend days off until October, so if I fall behind in the JC news, forgive me. Just click on Contact Johnny and drop me a line! Until then, thanks for supporting live music, Johnny C