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Guitar of Blind Willie McTell

For many years Ernie Hawkins has been playing concerts, clubs, blues and folk festivals, workshops, colleges, museums, parties, fist fights and millennium celebrations in the United States, Canada, Japan and Europe and at every stop in the road from A Prairie Home Companion to Antone's to the Madrid Jazz Festival. He has played with blues greats such as Son House, Mance Lipscomb, Fred McDowell, Jim Brewer, Rev. Gary Davis and many others.

Ernie has been featured in SingOut!, Fingerstyle Guitar, Dirty Linen, Acoustic Guitar, Blues Revue and Vintage Guitar magazines. He has appeared on "A Prairie Home Companion", "Mountain Stage" , "Woodsongs Old-Time Radio Hour" and XM radio. Ernie appears on Maria Muldaur's Grammy and Handy nominated and Indie Award winning album "Richland Woman Blues" and was the guitarist for the national support tour.

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    Hard Copy   $29.95  Item Number:  GW805

    Guitar of Blind Willie McTell

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    Blind Willie McTell, a legendary mystical genius, recorded from 1927, when he established his reputation with the transcendent Statesboro Blues all the way into the 1950’s. In homage to the great Georgia 12-string bluesman, Bob Dylan said: "No one can sing the blues like Blind Willie McTell."

    McTell is known for his unique swift clean fingerpicking style on his old Stella 12-string guitar. This was perfectly suited for his blues, rags and haunting vocals. He was also a master slide player, able to melt hearts with both blues and gospel gems. He was particularly expert at seamlessly combining a solid moving bass melodic style with spontaneous shimmering runs.

    In this DVD lesson Ernie teaches Blind Willie’s greatest songs.

    Titles include: Statesboro Blues, Come Around To My House Mama, Broke Down Engine, Searching The Desert For The Blues, Mama T’Ain’t Long For Day and Savannah Mama

    92 minutes • Level 2/3 • Detailed tab/music PDF file on the DVD

    Review: Ever want to see what makes the all-time classic "Statesboro Blues" really tick? Or take a behind-the scenes tour of the inner workings of the likewise immortal "Broke Down Engine." You'd certainly be in good company among those who've taken the time to learn Blind Willie tunes - ranging from The Allman Brothers, Deep Purple, and the White Stripes to Bob Dylan, Rory Block and Taj Mahal to Guy Davis, Alvin Youngblood Hart, and, now, even Dion. Conveniently enough, class is in session with the esteemed Ernie Hawkins teaching Willie McTell 101. Getting Hawkins to host this instructional DVD must have been as difficult as, say, getting a grizzly to jump on red meat. Because not only has the Pittsburgh-based guitarist long been infatuated with the Georgia 12-string wizard, but he also possesses the fluidity in his fingerstyle chops to do perfect justice to the six highlighted songs. Chops that, appropriately enough, originated under the apprenticeship of one of McTell's Piedmont contemporaries, Rev. Gary Davis.

    So "Statesboro Blues" chugs like a train; "Come Around To My House Mama" speaks in ragtime; the mystical "Searching The Desert For The Blues" briskly trots; and "Broke Down Engine" rightfully unfolds as a downcast masterwork shot full of rippling runs. And no tour of McTell's style would be complete without visiting the slide. His gold standard of "Mama, 'Taint Long 'Fore Day" is here, along with the languid melodic beauty of "Savannah Mama."

    However, the mission is to get those songs to come from you and your guitar. Assuring that success are multiple measures. Most importantly, Hawkins dissects each piece in full, before reassembling the in slo-mo on a split-screen to follow both right and left hands in action. There's also a detailed 40-page tab/music booklet. And the ultimate reference guide is tucked into the bonus material: all six original McTell audio tracks. – Dennis Rozanski/BluesRag

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