Ernie Hawkins – Monongahela Rye

Monongahela Rye
Corona Music: 70651

This marks the first release from Pittsburgh picker Ernie Hawkins in some years. 13 tracks of superb Piedmont picking with forays into straight southern blues styles and some surprising additions with a positively jazzy undercurrent.

WC Handy’s original version of Hesitation Blues is included together with some Blind Blake, Jelly Roll, Bill Broonzy and Hoagy Carmichael. Two real surprises include Red, Red, Robin and What A Wonderful World. An eclectic mix that reflects Hawkins’ passion for cross-genre material and sheer class and skill.
A former student of Rev Gary Davis in 1960s New York, Hawkins here turns his hand to one of Davis’ most popular instrumentals: Catfish is acknowledged by Hawkins’ as widely known as Rag/Blues In C.

Now touring and recording with Maria Muldaur at times, Hawkins is a master of most US acoustic blues/gospel guitar styles and can switch effortlessly between styles and genres. It’s good to hear a fresh offering from this monumentally talented musician. Highly recommended release.

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