European Spotlight: Joe Hawkins, a country music NightHawk
A lifelong singer and native of Fort Worth, Texas, Joe Hawkins has fronted NightHawk for nearly three years. The six-man band plays new-country hits and bills itself as “Nu Country Gone Wild.” For more information about the band and a list of upcoming shows, visit www.nighthawkband.de.
How’d you get into singing?
I’ve been singing since I was a kid. My mom was in the Miss Texas pageant a long time ago and her talent was singing.
How’d you end up being a country music singer?
I’ve always wanted to sing country music. I like the blues, too. Growing up in Fort Worth, Texas, I’ve always been a country music fan.
What’s the best part about being in a band?
I love to sing in front of people and just entertain. We’re all crazy. We put on a good show and just have a good time.
What’s your favorite song to play live?
Our favorite and one the crowds really like is (Garth Brooks’) “If Tomorrow Never Comes.” We practice really hard. We’re not your typical garage band. For the song, we just play acoustic guitar. All three voices singing in harmony work really well on that song.
I’ve seen your shows and “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy” looks like it’d be pretty fun to sing.
The crowds like that one, too, but it’s not our specialty song. Wild Bill (the band’s drummer) comes out and sings with me. We call him the “animal,” like “The Muppets” guy. He jumps on my back and does the horseback riding thing for that one.
Where all has the band played?
Berlin, Munich (in Germany); Switzerland, Austria. We have some shows coming in Denmark and Holland.
What about the Germans in the band? What’s the dynamic like playing country songs with Germans?
Everyone speaks perfect English. They’re all big country music fans as well. The German guys, they know what’s going on with the music. They ask Bill and I, too. I’ll go to the PX (post exchange), buy a CD and we’ll listen to it and decide if it’s a good song to do. We’re working on original songs now.
What’s your most memorable story from a concert?
The first time we played in Pullman City (a Western-themed town in Eging am See, Germany). It was such a big crowd. We’d played in clubs and at fests before. The atmosphere at this place was so cool. It’s set up like Tombstone. It was a cool feeling, like playing in a big saloon.
When’s your next show in the K-town area?
We’ll be playing April 28 at Ramstein Air Base’s enlisted club. We give 110 percent the whole time we’re out there. If you’ve seen our show, we do some pretty wild stuff.
Interview by Steve Mraz.
NightHawk members Harry Hubrich, left, and Sgt. Joe Hawkins perform recently.
Sgt. Joe Hawkins
Title: Lead vocalist of new-country music band NightHawk
Day job: U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern Headquarters Headquarters Detachment automation noncommissioned officer
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