Hawks come out of retirement; perform with Nicole Donatone
ELSA KERSCHNER/TIMES NEWS Nicole Donatone and The Hawks perform at the Palmerton Park in a free concert. They will be playing a summer schedule as The Hawks came out of retirement to provide the band Donatone needed.
A concert Sunday at the Gazebo in Palmerton Park featured country singer Nicole Donatone with local duo The Hawks.
The Hawks, longtime performers, had retired from the concert scene several years ago. They agreed to perform as backups this year to Donatone.
Someone casually said to the Hawks, "I'm glad you're making music again," as they walked by the gazebo.
Duane Hawk replied, "We wouldn't be doing it if it wasn't for Nicole."
Four years ago Lisa and Duane hung up the guitar and keyboard and said they were finished playing.
They attended some of Donatone's concerts and one day near Christmas she saw them walking down the street in Palmerton. They got to talking and decided to try playing together with a Christmas concert at Palmerton's high rise.
Donatone had been looking for a band and The Hawks filled that need. They will be playing at every one of her concerts and as a duo at Chestnuthill's 250th anniversary celebration in the West End Fairgrounds on Sept. 7
The weather forecast on the day of the concert called for a chance of showers. Duane said, "Welcome to Palmerton Borough Park where we'll be doing the no-rain dance." Clouds went by several times but there was no precipitation.
From 1984 until four years ago The Hawks were a well-known duo.
Duane said they have been working on the music since the beginning of January, noting he and Lisa have to learn the songs from hearing them since both are blind. He introduced Donatone by saying she "is the best friend a country music song can have."
Donatone said they would be playing a song from her new album, "Red" she made five trips to Nashville to make recordings. The Hawks were scheduled to play some of their well-known music also.
"Red" also became her first professional video with scenes shot in Lehighton, Palmerton and Penn's Peak.
Between songs Donatone stepped forward and adjusted a fan. Lisa asked, "Is that your biggest fan? I thought Duane was."
Lisa said she thought she heard Duane's sister and Donatone called, "Hey, Duane's sister. Is she here?"
Not only was Duane's sister present but Donatone's sister, Kayla, sang a couple songs with her. Her family traveled from New Jersey for the event.
Donatone said their next concert will be in Emmaus on June 16 at the Emmaus Community Park, 6-8 p.m.
Patsy Kline's "Write me in Care of the Blues," was a popular number. Donatone announced a fun song next, and Lisa said she thought they were all fun.
Donatone said she started singing when she was 4 and was on stage by age 11. "Blue," one of the songs she sang since she was a little girl, completed the first set.
She came from Hackettstown, N.J., but now lives in Palmerton. She has been playing at fairs, festivals and nursing homes.
From 1 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday she is the DJ at Penn's Peak Radio and on Wednesday afternoon for two hours the music changes to country western in a segment called "The Roundup."
"Long Black Train" was sent out to "Jean Smith and anyone else who likes that long black train."
Two songs were dedicated to veterans and the families of active duty military: "God Bless the Soldier" and "Soldier Boy."
The concert concluded with the Ferlin Husky classic, "Wings of a Dove.'
For information or for bookings go to www.nicoledonatone.com.