Recently, I encountered the music of Ernie Hawkins a guitarist who was a student of Rev. Gary Davis in the early 70s and who has remained dedicated to the blues styles of an earlier era. Hawkins music shows an affection and reverence to the Delta and Piedmont blues masters of the 1960s, but it does not simply copy their music. His CDs contain a mixture of blues, gospel, and ragtime with arrangements that are new, but recreate the styles of the earlier blues performers.
Blues Advice (Say Mo” Music) contains mostly classic acoustic blues from Gary Davis, Skip James, Willie McTell, and Blind Blake. The music is close to the originals, beautifully arranged and performed. It may contain the only version of Cocaine better than the Davis original. Bluesified (Say Mo” Music) is the more recent release from last year. It starts from the same roots, but includes some originals and less traditional arrangements. In some ways, it is more modern than his first CD, with original songs, supporting musicians on some songs, and a duet with Maria Muldaur. However, there is a stronger gospel sound here that connects even more deeply with music of Rev. Gary Davis.