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Hawkeye Herman

Hawkeye HermanWith over 40 years of performing experience, Michael "Hawkeye" Herman exemplifies the range of possibilities in acoustic blues, and personifies versatile musicianship, originality, and compelling artistry as a blues storyteller. His dynamic performances have won him a faithful following, and he leads a very active touring schedule of performances at festivals, concerts, school programs, and workshops. Hawkeye performs a wide variety of traditional blues, ballads, swing, and original tunes, on six-string and twelve-string guitar, and is an adept and exciting practitioner of slide guitar and slide mandolin. His music has been included in video documentaries and in three hit theatrical productions, and his solo CD, Blues Alive!, released in 1998, was greeted by rave reviews and greatly increased the demand for his live performances at major blues and folk festivals. His newest CD, It's All Blues To Me!, was released in May of 2005.

Hawkeye was born in Davenport, IA, on January 11th, 1945. As a teenager, he discovered a broad variety of blues music in late night radio broadcasts from Memphis, Shreveport, Dallas, New Orleans, Little Rock, Chicago, Detroit, and other points beyond the Iowa/Illinois Quad Cities, in the upper Mississippi River Valley area where he was growing up. Hawkeye got his first guitar in 1959, at the age of fourteen, and was performing two years later. Seeking to broaden his musical horizons, he relocated in the San Francisco Bay area in 1968. He sought out, and learned at the feet of many icons of the blues, including: Son House, Brownie McGhee, Bukka White, Mance Lipscomb, Furry Lewis, Lightin' Hopkins, John Jackson, K.C. Douglas, and Sam Chatmon. He became a staple in the Bay Area blues scene as both a solo artist and a back-up guitarist and worked with Charles Brown, Haskell "Cool Papa" Sadler, Sonny Rhodes, Jimmy McCracklin, Buddy Ace, Charles Houf, Little Joe Blue, Boogie Jake, and many others.

Hawkeye began touring outside of California in 1984, and has performed at blues and folk festivals, and in concert, across the US/Canada and Europe. His dynamic performances have won him a faithful following and he leads a very active touring schedule. Hawkeye performs a wide variety of traditional blues, ballads, swing, and original tunes, on six-string and twelve-string guitar, and is an adept and exciting practitioner of slide guitar and slide mandolin. His 1989 album, Everyday Living, featuring Charles Brown and Cool Papa, received much critical acclaim. His song, The Great Flood of '93, has been used on the sound-tracks of two video documentaries on that Midwest disaster, and has been included in a compact disc anthology of singer/songwriters produced by the New York based music magazine, Fast Folk.

As a music educator, Hawkeye has taken his love of blues music to students of all ages, from pre-school to university campuses through his enthusiastically received "Blues in the Schools" programs, which he initiated in 1980. He has taught guitar for over 25 years, and has presented blues and slide guitar instructional workshops at major folk and blues festivals as a part of his frequent concert touring schedule. In May of 1998, Hawkeye received the "Keeping the Blues Alive" Award for achievement in education from the Blues Foundation in Memphis. The award was the result of many years of blues educational programs he has done for students of all ages. He began this effort long before most blues support organizations and blues festivals even existed. Hawkeye has helped to initiate in-school educational programs for many blues societies and has single-handedly introduced blues music workshops to major festivals. He is the co-founder of the Rogue Valley Blues Festival in his home area of Southern Oregon.

Hawkeye was the composer/musical director/musician for the hit play El Paso Blue, which has had successful runs in San Francisco, Seattle, San Diego, Chicago, Portland, at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Philadelphia, where he was awarded the prestigious Barrymore Theater Award for Best Original Music in a play for the '99/'00 season, and at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, OR, the largest theater complex in the US. In 2004, Hawkeye performed off Broadway in the New York City production of El Paso Blue. He collaborated with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan on the music for the 2002 West Coast premiere of Schenkkan's play, Handler, also produced at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Hawkeye served for six years on the Board of Directors of the Blues Foundation in Memphis, and was chairperson of the Foundation's education committee. He has contributed blues historical articles and personal memoirs to many national and regional blues magazines, as well as contributed to the recent book/CD anthology, Up the Mississippi/A Journey Of The Blues, published by the Mississippi Valley Blues Society in 2003.

Hawkeye has provided musical soundtracks for a number of video productions, most recently, Tying Bob Quigley's Signature Flies / Volume One (Pegasus Productions).

Hawkeye served for six years on the Board of Directors of the Blues Foundation in Memphis, and was chairperson of the Foundation's education committee. He maintains an active touring schedule performing in concert and at blues festivals throughout the US/Canada/Europe, and his original articles about blues history appear in numerous national and regional blues magazines and newsletters.

In November of 2004, Hawkeye was inducted into the Iowa Blues Hall of Fame in Des Moines, IA.

In September of 2005, Hawkeye composed "Katrina, Oh Katrina (Hurricane Blues)", detailing the hurricane disaster on the Gulf Coast, at the request of the British Broadcasting Company (BBC). The song was aired to over 7 million listeners on BBC Radio news' "Today" program.

This musician has definitely carved out a spot for himself in the contemporary acoustic blues/folk field, and has earned a reputation as one of the most accomplished artists in the genre. Michael "Hawkeye" Herman has been called "The Midwest's Blues Ambassador," and audiences throughout the US/Canada/Europe have come to know and appreciate Hawkeye's talent, dedication, and captivating performances.


"One of America's finest acoustic guitarists and blues educators." -Cascade Blues Association

"Herman can rock with the best of them. A solid choice for fans of traditional acoustic blues." -Living Blues

Robert Johnson, Big Bill Broonzy, and Muddy on through the evocative, haunting acoustic slide-guitar style he plays." -San Diego Reporter

"Each song is presented with a heartfelt depth rarely witnessed these days amongst all the amplifiers and studio embellishments...Herman proves to be a seasoned storyteller above all, as well as an accomplished guitarist." -Blues Revue

"Has emerged as one of the most widely respected acoustic blues musicians's about as real as the blues gets." -Sing Out!

"Herman is a one-man history of blues, noteworthy guitar player and inimitable communicator. Miss him at your peril." -Blues Access

"Hawkeye Herman is a mean, clean guitar picker." -San Francisco Examiner

1998 - Keeping the Blues Alive, Blues Foundation award recipient for lifetime achievement in blues education
2000 - Barrymore Award for Excellence in Theatre for best original music in a theatrical production
2004 - Inducted into Iowa Blues Hall of Fame

-Has taught "Blues In The Schools" programs since 1978, to over 500 schools throughout North and South America and Europe, teaching blues music and history to over 1/2 million students.

-Collaborated in composing music for the West Coast premiere for the play "Handler" with Pulitzer Prizez winning playright Robert Schenkkan

-Has written articles on blues history and blues personalities which have appeared in many music publications
Audio Samples:
Its All Blues To Me I Used To Ride That Train  [ MP3 ]
Give Me A Grandma Every Time  [ MP3 ]
St. James Infirmary  [ MP3 ]

Blues Alive The Great River Road  [ MP3 ]
The Great Flood of '93  [ MP3 ]

Everyday Living Rocket To Chicago  [ MP3 ]
New Crossroads  [ MP3 ]

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Video Clips:


Click Here to check out Hawkeye Herman's YouTube video page with 18 videos

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All Blues To Me Hawkeye Herman - It's All Blues To Me
Style: Acoustic Blues

“It’s All Blues To Me” by Hawkeye Herman is a satisfying live set of acoustic music in the traditional blues, folk, jazz and even rock styles. Songs include a chilling version of the classic “Sixteen Tons,” the traditional “St. James Infirmary,” and even an acoustic arrangement of Van Morrison’s “Moondance.” Guests on the album include Washboard Chaz on washboard and percussion.

Catalog #4522 (Released August 17, 2010)

Blues Alive Hawkeye Herman - Blues Alive!
Style: Acoustic Blues

“Blues Alive!” is the latest release from Iowa native Michael “Hawkeye” Herman, a fixture on the blues festival and blues education circuits, who plays traditional acoustic blues guitar, and is a respected blues storyteller with over 40 years of performing experience. The album features three songs penned by Hawkeye, but is predominantly covers of traditional blues songs like the Mississippi Sheiks “Sitting On Top of the World,” and Robert Johnson’s “Come On In My Kitchen,” with the occasional contemporary song interspersed, such as Mose Allison’s tongue in cheek “Your Mind Is On Vacation.” Rediscover many great tunes that are the bedrock of blues.

Catalog #4521 (Released August 17, 2010)

Everyday Living Hawkeye Herman - Everyday Living
Featuring Charles Brown and Haskell Sadler
Style: Acoustic Blues

“Everyday Living” is a landmark album by traditionalist blues singer and storyteller Michael “Hawkeye” Herman that features guest appearances by mellow blues pianist and vocalist Charles Brown and guitarist Haskell “Cool Papa” Sadler. Songs include arrangements of delta blues guitarist Tommy Johnson’s “Big Road Blues,” Charles Brown’s “Drifting Blues” and a couple of originals by Hawkeye, including the folk-influenced train-blues song “Rocket To Chicago.” Find out why Hawkeye is considered one of the keepers of the flame in the traditional blues and acoustic guitar communities.

Catalog #4523 (Released August 17, 2010)

Digital Downloads

All Blues To Me iTunes emusic Rhapsody Amazon
Blues Alive iTunes emusic Rhapsody Amazon
Everyday Living iTunes emusic Rhapsody Amazon

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