Folkies are cravin’ for Cramer

Sea shanties and cowboy songs

This Saturday, June 18, the Sooke Folk Music Society is happy to be bringing back perennial favourite, Hank Cramer to our monthly Coffee House at Holy Trinity Anglican Church.

Hank Cramer is one of the best-loved folksingers in the American west. He’s known for his booming bass voice, smooth picking on a vintage flat-top guitar, and a wry sense of humour.

Hank’s repertoire is a mix of original, traditional, and contemporary folk songs. They tell the stories of cowboys, sailors, soldiers, miners, adventurers, and just plain drifters. That fits with Hank’s life story: he has been an underground miner, a professional soldier, shanty-man, wrangler and a world traveler. Those experiences make Hank’s music ring with a special authenticity.

Hank inherited a gift of music from his father, and by high school was a prominent performer in glee club, choir, and school musicals. He learned guitar and banjo while still in school, and was heavily influenced by the Kingston Trio, Gordon Lightfoot, and the Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem.

While earning his degree at University of Arizona, Hank performed solo in college coffee-houses and Tucson bars. After graduation in 1976, he followed in his father’s foot-steps to become an Army officer, paratrooper, and Green Beret. Wherever Hank deployed around the world, he packed his guitar along with his duffel-bag, and the music eased the strain of service and created many good memories for his soldier-buddies.

Hank left active military service in 1990. For the next nine years he led a dual life. By day, he designed, built, and managed 9-1-1 emergency dispatch centers in Colorado and Washington. By nights and weekends, he performed and recorded music with several of the Northwest’s best-loved folk groups: Victory At Sea, The Rounders, The Cutters, and The Ferryboat Musicians. Hank’s boisterous renditions of nautical work-songs (sea shanties) led to a stint as “shanty-man” and helmsman aboard the brig Lady Washington, an authentic replica of the first American ship to enter Northwest waters in the 1780’s. Hank’s repertoire of cowboy songs also drew positive attention from the western music community.

Hank’s touring circuit spread wider and wider, until in 1998 he finally dropped his “day job” in order to meet the demands of a successful music career. He now has 18 CD’s, four music videos, and three movie sound-tracks to his credit.

After 9/11, Hank interrupted his music career to resume military service to the country. Hank is now retired from the Army as a lieutenant colonel with 28 years of service, and has resumed his concert tours and recording schedule.

Please join us this Saturday, June 18th at Holy Trinity Anglican Church on Murray Road for a rousing evening of music with this gifted performer. Doors open at 7 p.m. with open stage at 7:30 and our feature at 9.