Nighthawks on the Blue Highway is the first documentary film about the hardest working band in America, the result of two years of production, countless days on the road with the band and interviews with those who know the members and their music best. Directed by Johnny Cash biographer and DC native Michael Streissguth, the 73 minute film stars George Thorogood, John Hammond, Luther “Guitar Junior” Johnson, and band co-founder Mark Wenner. Includes bonus material, NTSC all region.
Born in early-1970s Washington DC where blues, soul, country, folk and rock filtered through the hearts of musicians in every neighborhood, The Nighthawks churned out a blues-and-rock style that honored the city’s dynamic influences and set the stage for the rise of modern blues acts such as George Thorogood, The Fabulous Thunderbirds and Stevie Ray Vaughan. “I was really knocked out by them,” says Thorogood in the film. “They were just so sure of themselves. And they did this dynamite version of ‘Little Sister’ by Elvis Presley. Which I thought, ‘Wow! A blues band doing Elvis Presley!’ ‘Cause I’m a blues band and I do Johnny Cash! These guys were beyond the perimeter of what music is.”
The film tracks the band from a dream in founder Mark Wenner’s Bethesda basement to international stardom. Along the way, they shared the stage with blues legends Muddy Waters, B.B. King, J.B. Hutto, and John Lee Hooker and attracted southern-rock god Gregg Allman who joined the band for a golden stretch in late 1970s.
In the film, Wenner revived the vision of The Nighthawks. With bass player Johnny Castle, drummer Mark Stutso, and guitarist Paul Bell, the band collected its first national blues award in 2011, appeared on the national album charts and hit the road with renewed vigor. In slim digipak.