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"When I close my eyes and listen to Ernie's playing, I feel as if such legendary bluesmen as Rev. Gary Davis and Mance Lipscomb had revived and were playing there. He not only has surpassing guitar technique but also a genuine blues spirit. He is a real acoustic blues master."
Tokio Uchida TAB Guitar School Japan


These two new video lessons provide a wonderful overall view of the legendary blues artist Mance Lipscomb's guitar style and technique. Volume One (94 minutes in length) has a 48-page tab/music booklet that transcribes the seven songs taught by Hawkins and devotes time to Lipscomb's trademark: the "dead thumb: a walking driving bass string technique. Lipscomb, a native of Texas and a master of the country blues, is in good hands as Hawkins demonstrates such songs as "Captain Captain", "You Got to Reap What You Sow", and "Night Time is the Right Time" carefully and articulately. Volume Two is a good next step for guitarists who have mastered the fundamentals in Volume One. The centerpiece in Volume Two (66 minutes in length with a 40-page tab/music booklet) is "Spoonful," one of the most popular blues songs around. Other guitar numbers worth following Hawkins' patient explanation are two ragtime instrumentals in the key of G and in A. An extended blues jam in the key of G is the closer. Great sound quality and the fretboard close-ups and finger positions of Hawkins make these videos a particularly good buy for learning Lipscomb's trade secrets.
Dirty Linen

"Ernie Hawkins studied with the cream of acoustic blues players. Hawkins clearly and systematically dissects the playing of two of the most influential country bluesmen, Blind Willie McTell and Lightnin' Hopkins. Hawkins' precise and detailed commentary makes McTell's complex and subtle picking style comprehensible and accessible." Michael Parrish Dirty Linen

The Guitar of Lightnin Hopkins employs a more extensive tab system than has been used in past Grossman videos. This tab eliminates much of the guesswork and used in tandem with the video, it will have you pickin' like a good Texan in no time" Jim Coen Guitar World Acoustic

"If you have a guitar, a thumbpick, a VCR and 90 minutes to spend, then Ernie Hawkins can go a long way in revealing Mance Lipscomb - Texas' rumpled, but premier, "dead thumb" guitarist. It's Hawkins' intent that you leave with not just a mere pocketful of selected songs, but more importantly, with the Lipscomb Gestalt. To this end, he slips in added pointers beyond the setlist allowing you to better comprehend the Texan's style of playing. (Lightnin) equally enlightening." Dennis Rozanski Baltimore Blues Society

"I started watching the Lightnin video - excellent, articulate, clear instruction…it's enjoyable to even put my guitar down and just watch and absorb!" David Massey

"Not only does this video demonstrate how complex and beautiful many of Lightnin's arrangements are, but it also serves as a fitting tribute to a master guitarist. Ernie's lessons are especially clear and insightful. Although I'd been playing Lightnin tunes for years, I learned a great deal from this video. Keep up the great work!" Cliff Brown

Reverend Gary Davis

Really wonderful lessons. You have a total winner here, Ernie. Reverend
Davis has always been the most challenging of players to try to copy. You
make his style very easy to understand. I learned the first song in a few
hours after years of trying to figure what he's doing even with his concert
footage. These are excellent, perhaps even definitive performances. Patrick

I received my DVD's yesterday. I have watched all four, and they are
fantastic! Ernie's love of the music and his wonderful teaching skills are
evident on every tune.
Dan Eason

I just wanted to say how terrific the Gary Davis teaching videos are and how
inspiring they have been. Tom Dopirak

whooo mama, they're really good. I can't say enough good things about them.
If you wanna play the Rev's style, they really do the job. Len

The RGD has such a unique style of playing that it makes learning from the
recordings a near impossible, if not mystical experience. Lucky for us,
modern technology and Ernie Hawkins came along and made it a little bit
easier to figure out this complicated, but not impossible approach to the GD
style...This is not an instructional DVD for beginners. The tunes are tough
and will require many delightful hours of hard work. The pay-off will be the
joy of living in the world of a true musical genius. Even if you are not a
player, you will stare in reverence at the collections of film clips from
this American master. Sing Out! Vol. 46#4, Winter 2003

I think the Rev. Davis set has set a new benchmark of quality. Ed Leach

I just had to let you know that the Rev. Gary Davis DVD's are outstanding.The
original films of RGD are priceless and your instruction is well paced and
easy to understand which is a rare combination given the complexity of the
guitar technique. Tim Makatura


Based out of Pittsburgh, Ernie Hawkins just exploded on the blues scene in a big way this year. These are acoustic blues gems in the style of his hero Gary Davis. He covers Blind Blake, Skip James, Willie McTell and Son House and tosses in a few originals that drip with authenticity. Unquestionably the finest acoustic discs of the year.
Mark Gallo www.mnblues.com

Pittsburgh's Ernie Hawkins is one of the most accomplished and impressive acoustic guitarists of our time. Hawkins proves why he belongs in the ranks of the greats. Where others have met the challenge with less than spectacular results, Hawkins is confidently competent throughout -- which is to say, he's just amazing. Whew!
Mark Gallo www.mnblues.com

Hawkins is a man of impeccable taste, and his world weary vocals are perfectly suited to the song. The more discerning listener who appreciates fingerpicking guitar will definitely want to check out "Bluesified." It is a fine album, and at a time when there seems to be an increasing number of acoustic blues guitarists, Ernie Hawkins deserves to be right up there with the pick of them. "Bluesified" is well worth tracking down.
Gordon Baxter www.mnblues.com

There isn’t anything better to cure your soul than this kind of blues. All the songs are little treasures. Acoustic country blues doesn’t get much better than this.
Bjorn Blues-Stkka Norway

He learned his acoustic guitar work from the recordings of Blind Willie McTell and at the feet of Rev. Gary Davis. Though Ernie Hawkins is an unfamiliar name to many blues fans, his music and over 30 years of dedication is a life commitment to be acknowledged. Hawkins expertly follows a fingerpicking journey from Piedmont styles to the ragtime traditions that were popular in the Middle Atlantic States during the '20's and '30's. It's no coincidence he opens with "I Am A Pilgrim," the theme common to many of us who have followed this music to a spiritual awakening. His pristine Piedmont styled fingerpicking on Davis' "Slow Drag" and McTell's seminal "Broke Down Engine" are pieces to play over and over. "Crucifixion / Jesus Make My Dying Bed" has Hawkins reaching back to a tune he wrote in 1964 as a student of Davis. The other Davis song Hawkins covers is "I Belong To The Band." With Maria Mulduar singing, Hawkins recreates the pure power of the joyous music Muldaur and others were recording in NYC during the 1960's folk revival. The disc ends with a dense three minutes of noodling around with "Amazing Grace" until Hawkins sets his course with bits of three McTell tunes, "Savannah Mama," "Travelin' Blues," and McTell's own 1940's recording of "Amazing Grace." This fitting instrumental tribute to McTell takes Bluesfied full circle. Every Hawkins performance, live or recorded, achieves perfection balancing his passionate love of pre-war acoustic blues and honest songwriting. The genuine musical soul of Blind Willie McTell, Rev. Gary Davis and others Hawkins has sat with are revived with every strum and pick. For the guitarists interested in his finger style methods, Hawkins also has three videos teaching the styles of McTell, Mance Lipscomb, and Lightnin' Hopkins he recorded for Stefan Grossman's Guitar Workshop. These are also available on his website.
Art Tipaldi Boston Blues Society

"Ernie Hawkins is a true living apostle of the True Living Blues. He not only plays each note authentically and flawlessly in a wide variety of traditional and modern blues styles, but more importantly, he delivers a huge measure of Soul in every note - and after all - that's what the Blues are all about."  
Maria Muldaur

"Ernie is a powerful blues guitar player. He can duplicate the sounds, music and feelings of the blues greats of yesteryear, i.e. Rev. Gary Davis, Mance Lipscomb, Lightnin' Hopkins, Blind Willie McTell etc. Ernie combines the rare traits of being a superb musician and a great communicator of this music. He can easily communicate the intricacies of their playing in a clear and direct manner as well as extend the genre to his own experiences."
 Stefan Grossman

Rev. Gary Davis always took great delight when his students became accomplished performers themselves and this guy here is one of them. …much of the great man’s teaching has rubbed off.   Hawkins is one of the few Davis interpreters that can capture his richly inventive bass runs. …the slide work played on the delicious sounding twelve-string on his tribute to McTell is evocative and very effective.  
Robert Tilling, Rev. Gary Davis biographer, Blue & Rhythm U.K. 

“This is a really tastefully done album, with a lot of honest feel, some very pretty picking, and vocals that really tell the story.   In this era of bombastic blues, this is very low key, and very refreshing.   I liked the various instrumentation and the overall gentle feel.   I particularly liked Moonbeam and Root hog for the cool feels.
Bruce Iglauer Alligator Records

“Hawkins is now an undeniable master in the Piedmont tradition and stands with Brownie McGee and John Jackson.   He’s so proficient that the only proponents of that style who are more technically adventurous are Blind Blake and the Rev. Gary Davis.
Blues Access

…a ray of sunshine, a perfect cure for the winter doldrums.   It’s unpretentious, overwhelmingly sweet and good-hearted…positively glowing with good feeling.   Hawkins may belittle his own abilities, but it truth, they’re considerable.   Bluesified is a fine tribute to his years of dedication.  
Blues Revue 

One of the “Top 10 most listened-to recordings in

Blues Revue’s offices. April 2001

“Ernie Hawkins hails from Pittsburgh.   Not exactly a hotbed of acoustic blues, but Hawkins is one of the best.   This is the kind of playing a lot of us aspired to when we were young.   Vintage Guitar

“If you like your blues, ragtime, and gospel music fingerpickin’ good, Ernie Hawkins’ latest album is the one to roll with.   Don’t think this boy can’t sing.   His deep tones are so laid-back, back-porch growly, you’d swear you were in the Texas hills.  
Dirty Linen

“What really keeps him going – and what makes him outright spectacular-is his embrace of the ragtime and gospel traditions of his mentor, the late Rev. Gary Davis.
Sing Out!

“Bluesified will be enjoyed by all fans of acoustic blues guitar.  
Living Blues

“Ever wonder what the Rev. Gary Davis would have sounded like if he had studied with Blind Blake?   Or had Davis lived another 20 years, what his playing would be like?   Ernie Hawkins answers these questions with his unique, hard-won voice on Blues Advice.   Hawkins is one of the finest acoustic bluesmen between New York and Chicago.  
Blues Access

There are people who can do nothing wrong. Ernie Hawkins seems to be one of them. Whether fingerpicking, slide or ragtime, the atmosphere fits and delivers warmth. Hawkins vocals stick in the ear, leaving remembrance of the Mississippi Delta. Hawkins doesn’t copy; he delivers a unique style in a very successful way.
Five stars - highest rating Concerto Vienna Austria

“Hawkins rises far above average with a massive infusion of heart and soul.   This music is who he is.   There is such a blast of feeling in his voice you just flat-out believe him.
Linda Bittner Pittsburgh Post Gazette

On all, he plays with charm and grace.   Hawkins’ natural and unforced vocals deliver the lyrics with warmth and conviction.   This is a release that will delight fans of acoustic blues.   Ron Weinstock Washington DC Blues Society

“WOW!   I have serious doubts about my verbal skills being adequate to describe this recording…. This is a real fingerpicking showcase…If you are a fan of traditional acoustic fingerpicking music (or even if you aren’t), you really should pick this one up.    Jim Wright Kansas City Blues News

“A minor legend in the Midwest folk/blues scene, Ernie Hawkins’ name is becoming known among blues fans as one of the finest, and most authentic, guitar players anywhere. “Bluesified is a wonderful treat for any fan of authentic country blues. … The album opens with the sound of a sweet, delicate guitar, loping along as if on a lazy summer day. …Closing the CD, “Amazing Grace is a glorious gem of composition and craftsmanship.   What’s most clear from this album is the sense that Hawkins has finally found the inspiration within his soul that has allowed him to use his musical skills in a spiritual expression.   The feeling of wonder and awe that emanates from the speakers is a marvel to experience.  
Dave Little Maine Blues Society

“It was only on the third listening that I really began to appreciate the subtle nuances and low-key charm of this CD…you come up with a bright, cheerful, rolling, show-tune kind of sound, an older-audience, toe-tapping, smiling, head-moving-side-to-side folky sound.   This is music for a quiet happy mood.  
David Moore Desert Bluesbeat Tucson AZ

In the post-Stevie Ray Vaughan era where seemingly every blues guitarist thinks they get paid by the note, it is easy to forget the simple, unadorned charm of piedmont-style acoustic blues where each note has a meaning and the stories unfold like folk tales around a campfire.   Ernie Hawkins is a master of the style…   If you’re looking for some blues that is honest and true to its roots grab this disc. (Bluesified)  
Mark Smith West Michigan Blues Society

The resultant sound is consistently warm, engaging and enjoyable.     The majestic “Crucifixion gets cushioned with a driving twelve-string’s rich full-bodied resonance. The atmospheric “Amazing Grace is fully draped with spidery shadows of slide, and the gorgeous “Moonbeam slides on Hawkins’ guitar and silken ribbons that unfurl from an accompanying clarinetist.   Worth the hunt.  
Dennis Rozanski Baltimore Blues Society

“…all of which makes for a fascinating listen!  
John Valenteyn, Toronto Blues Society

“In this long-awaited release, Hawkins further fortifies his reputation as a purveyor of the Right Stuff!   There’s no one we’ve heard who’s so thoroughly assimilated the masterful style of the great Rev. Gary Davis, but beyond that there’s a mature, almost spiritual depth that informs every note of this splendid album.   He’s a lonesome, beguiling vocalist and a guitarist with an unerring feel for the bare wires, the lean, mean Fundamental Tone of bluesdom.   We’ve always though Ernie Hawkins was the Real Deal.  
Elderly Instruments

“I gotta tell ya, we’re just crazy about Ernie’s stuff.
Pat Kreeft Atlanta Blues Society

“I had to do a double-take when I put this disc on because I thought I was listening to a twilight years recording of some grizzled country bluesman from the 1940s.     There is no attempt to modernize this collection of chestnuts by old masters…   Normally I would ask myself “Why bother? when listening to an album like this.   Just dig out the originals and get the real deal.   But this album gets around that problem by sounding so damn good.

The acoustic guitar tone, whether fingerstyle or slide, is admirable.   … This CD will delight acoustic fans.  
Steve Bachleda Capital Area Blues Society Okemos MI

“From the opening with the classic gospel of I am a Pilgrim to the closing slide tribute to Blind Willie McTell, Ernie Hawkins has turned out an impressive collection of acoustic blues.   There’s something for everyone here.   My favorite cut was Root Hog or Die… I could close my eyes and see myself in a speakeasy dressed in drapey silk and a long rope of pearls, holding a glass of bathtub gin and swaying to the music filling the smoky club.   Ernie makes you feel it, smell it, taste it.   You have to hear this CD.
Ann Manigin Atlanta Blues Society

Hawkins is easily on par with any of his peers in the current acoustic blues scene.   Bluesified is a true treasure, period.   That Hawkins has mastered the Piedmont blues-style of guitar playing is immediately evident, but technical skill only goes so far. What is more important is that Hawkins feels the music he plays.   Each tune here is a gem.   … “Moonbeam is pure inspiration.   “I am a Pilgrim should have been included on the “O Brother, Where Art Thou soundtrack.   Get your hands on this album.  
Michael Bosley Potomac Blues Society

“Not to say that this CD is a very good one would be a terrible injustice.
Vicente Zumel La Hora Del Blues Spain

“Lawdy, lawdy, this is authentic acoustic blues!  http://www.minor7th.com/

“This is a great CD.  Hawkins’ mastery of the instrument becomes breathtakingly evident after repeated listenings.   An important work.   Hawkins is gaining a national reputation as one of the world’s finest purveyors of this almost-lost American art form.   He is a passionate man with a gentle spirit and lots of soul.  
Phil Harris Pittsburgh Magazine

“Bluesified is like a hot steaming stack of pancakes, piled with whipped butter and dripping with syrup…SWEET!   Ernie is a standout guitar player.   I’ll tell the world.  
Storman Norman   DJ Rock101   Vancouver B.C.

“VERY VERY impressive.   Definitely one of the Best Blues albums as of late!   (“Bluesified)   Chris Darling, WMPG   radio, Portland Maine

“I am sure you don’t need one more cat raving about your CD but I’m afraid you’ll have to put up with it.   Glorious, amazing, splendid music.   Better than ever, if that’s possible.   Peter Berryman

Hawkins is a skilled and courageous artist, using dexterous, subtle guitar. “Bluesified is terrific! …It’s going to be in my CD player for a long time…much like the earlier “Blues Advice.    Another inspired yet very cohesive effort.   Truly every cut on this record is a winner.
John Irving Delta Snake Daily Blues

   “ I don’t know how many people are in the group I call the Reverend Gary Davis Chowder and Marching Society.   I could reel off a hundred names, some famous, most of them not.   They have two things in common:   studying Rev. Gary Davis’ works and picking their butts off.   Now, most of these people are my friends, and like other groups of friends, we tend to scandalize whoever is out of earshot.   That’s right, we talk about them behind their back:   who’s doing what, who just released a new CD, who plays the best, that sort of thing.   Well, I’ve had a lot of these conversations, ‘cause I got a lot of friends, and I couldn’t exactly give you a frequency count, but I’ll tell you one thing:   the name that keeps coming up is Ernie Hawkins.   He’s the one, we either want to break his fingers, or break our own.   Ernie Hawkins.   Remember that.   We ain’t no slouches.   Ernie Hawkins.
Andy Cohen Memphis TN

“The problem with most people who attempt to cop the Piedmont feel is that they’re too good at it.   That style has its own feel and isn’t one that particularly moves me beyond the appreciation for the technique for it, a decidedly personal call for sure.   Often, the guitar is somehow too clean and in the process the soul of the music gets sucked out.   Somehow, Ernie avoids this.   He plays flawlessly to be sure, but within the context of the album it has real appeal and depth and isn’t some kind of academic exercise that you get from some “masters who will remain nameless.

I think a lot of it has to do with Hawkins’ voice. The first sense I got in hearing him was that this might be the kind of think that would be featured in the follow up soundtrack for Oh Brother Where Art Thou.   In other words, style of singing is far more folk country blues than down and dirty blues, and I, for one, like it very much.   The music, the character of the voice and, then, the album taken as a whole forms a kind of bridge between two different forms of music.

I recommend it – you’ll find your blood pressure lowering and your outlook deepening.
Brian Robertson http://www.bigroadblues.com/


“His scarcity of recorded music and absence from the blues-festival circuit notwithstanding, Ernie Hawkins is simply one of the finest traditional Piedmont/East Coast blues guitarists alive.   In Hawkins’ hometown of Pittsburgh, he is widely regarded as a civic treasure, the crown jewel of the Iron City blues scene.   Coupled with his understated brilliance on an acoustic six-string, Hawkins transforms everything he sings into singularly plaintive expressions of joy, hope, sadness, desperation, and friendship.   Since Blues Advice was never distributed far outside the Pittsburgh city limits, it remains a small, mostly undiscovered masterpiece.   Still, this is a disc for the ages, a reminder of the enduring grace and beauty of the blues well done.
 David Pulizzi


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