"Good evening from Fort Worth, Texas." Those are the first words of out Sam Anderson and David Matsler's mouths on 'El Astronauta,' The Quaker City Night Hawks' electrifying debut album for Lightning Rod Records, and it's the only introduction you'll need. Over a viscid, bluesy slide-guitar, the band transports you to the sweltering Texas heat, a "land of oilfields, iron nightmares, and fevered dreams." That song, "Good Evening," plants the band's flag firmly in the sand, simultaneously celebrating the pride of home and acknowledging the ominous clouds that hang over it, all while perfectly setting the stage for the raucous journey through time and space that follows.
The Night Hawks—Anderson and Matsler on vocals and guitars, Pat Adams on bass, and Aaron Haynes on drums—are a Southern band, to be sure, but it's not the South we've come to expect from our rock and roll. Equally influenced by ZZ Top and science fiction, they write of landscape both familiar and foreign, of a people working to shed their past but still burdened with its repercussions even in the distant future.
The Quaker City Night Hawks have been far out there, but they're anything but low down at the moment as they prepare for their first major foray into the national spotlight. Paste hailed the band's "blues-infused southern" sound, while the Dallas Observer dubbed the "relevant and timeless" rockers the Best Band of 2015, and several of their songs were featured in the hit FX series Sons of Anarchy. Anderson was one of the first to invite fellow Ft. Worth-native Leon Bridges to perform during set breaks at his shows, and the two recently reunited to perform for an upcoming Danny Clinch documentary which was teased during the GRAMMY Awards, and dates with Chris Stapleton, Lucero, J Roddy Walston, and Whiskey Myers have solidified the Night Hawks' status as one of the Lone Star State's most exciting new acts.
This isn't the South of their fathers, nor is it the America they'd been promised growing up, but we're all in it together, and maybe, by the time souped-up hot rod spaceships are cruising between planets, we'll have learned a lesson from the original Night Hawks onboard the Quaker City and put aside our differences long enough to make life just a little better for everybody.