Set against a backdrop of big, banging drums and driving guitars, this band of barn-burning brothers — Toronto’s F. Scott and the Nighthawks — exists at a crossroads between outlaw country, Americana, punk rock, and good old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll. The band’s latest offering, Hold Onto Your Heart, is (quite fittingly) set for release on Friday the 13th of August.
This cast of fun-loving Nighthawks are known to get going a little fast in the dead of night, but they sure don’t mean any harm. Powered by true-blue friendship and a yearning to recount universal, human stories about family, love, loss, and redemption, F. Scott and the Nighthawks are both the warm embrace you long for when you’re out drowning your sorrows and the lightning that ignites the most memorable of freewheelin’ good times.
“Waylon to Van Halen / We like ZZ Top / We sure do love us some country and rock,” Scott notes with a sly grin, also nodding to love of Hank Williams, Jr.
When Scott isn’t unleashing a deep-chested yowl, as he does on an essential cut like “Honey Bee,” and getting the blood pumping with “Outlaws,” he calls on Brother “B Goode” and Brother Jerry — two of his frontline guitar slingers — to deliver a dusty, whiskey-inspired sing along (“Shelf”) and a sure-shot cowpunk number (“Pegged”) before pulling the rug out from under you with an intimate love letter to this band of brothers (“Saddle Up”). “Been to my funeral, sure shook me up,” he whispers on the latter. It’s a far cry from the frontman tearing his vocal chords out with other high-octane emissions like the jagged-toothed “Rumble in the Valley” or the supercharged “Rattlesnake No BS Boogie” (featuring Jesse ‘Boots Electric’ Hughes of Eagles of Death Metal).
Hold Onto Your Heart “sort of turns down the dirt road,” Scott reflects. The record parses out particular fragments of bravado and intoxicating showmanship and braids them with more vulnerable, plaintive moments. It’s a necessary reframing that casts the new record with bright bursts of color that feel authentic and altogether thrilling.
Scott has long had a rebellious and unruly musical spirit. Hailing from Niagara Falls, growing up a “border town kid”, he’s long harbored a love of Texas and Tennessee by way of what was once his late fathers music — a Navy vet who serendipitously met legendary supergroup The Highwaymen (Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and Kris Kristofferson) between shows back in the late ‘70s. The stories he shared with F. Scott paved the way to present day. Now, decades later, that meeting almost seems prophetic; the seeds were planted, and a destiny needed to be fulfilled.
In Scott’s early 20s, certain sounds and styles started to really resonate, particularly those of the poetic storyteller. He soon found himself moving to Toronto and then Los Angeles, never fully comfortable with his surroundings or musical output and ensuring his own destruction both creatively and emotionally.
The stars seemed to be aligning while Scott was working with Jeff Saenz (Modern Electric Sound Recorders // Paul Cauthen, Texas Gentlemen) but then a series of tragic events unfolded. His father passed away; he went through a breakup; lost a management deal and a record had to be shelved. “It basically all imploded,” he laments. Through all of this, Scott remained in constant pursuit of a vision he couldn’t seem to fully establish, which he admits is due to his lifestyle at the time. There’s some dark parts of “Those Days” but Scott treasures the friendships he made along the way, especially Saenz, who he admires and looks forward to someday finishing what they started.
Quite the tumbleweed, he eventually made his way back to Toronto to catch his breath. Never one to throw in the towel, Scott needed a little time to get his head together. He took a step back, strategized, and slowly re-entered the fray with the Nighthawks over the past several years, building a loyal following in the greater Toronto area.
By nature, F. Scott and the Nighthawks is more than a band — it’s a brotherhood, built on celebrating camaraderie and lifting one another up through the darkest times, no matter how bumpy the road might be.
“We’re all in the truck and picking people up along the way,” Scott notes. “There’s a core band and very strong interest in collaboration and community, geographically and globally speaking, within Americana music. This band is the real deal and we’re working hard to find our footing. It’s so real and surreal at the same time; picture a Tarantino casino scene with Waylon doubling down on Jesse Hughes. Get on board now, as I can say with confidence the boys and I will shed our skin and keep on winding down the road.”
Hold Onto Your Heart, punching between rafter-burning defiance and thought-provoking melancholia, pummels the eardrums. It’s relentless, propulsive, and nearly scattershot in scope ─ rock music pierced through its core with blues, Americana, and roots.
Put simply, this debut full-length from F. Scott and the Nighthawks is a bellowing warcry and a musical statement of the highest order.
“A hearty blend of Americana, blues, and rock … F. Scott and the Nighthawks cash in their chips, swapping out emotional wreckage for some life-affirming changes.” – American Songwriter
“Scott delivers his vocals with a throaty wail that brings a righteous sense of immediacy and animation.” – Glide Magazine
“Sounds like Chris Robinson is high as hell and writing Black Crowes tunes again.” – Maximum Volume Music
Publicist: Frank Keith