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'Hawkeye' Herman Teaches Children How The Blues Had A Baby

Robert Stolpe
courtesy of the artist
Hawkeye Herman at the Blues Foundation's office in Memphis, Tenn., 2006.

Michael “Hawkeye” Herman passes along his love of the Blues and lets young people know the importance of the music in the development of American culture through the Blues in the Schools program.

Born in 1945 in Davenport, Iowa, Blues music lit up his life when he first heard it on late night radio.

After getting a guitar at age 14 and learning to play the best he could in his isolated world he decided to move to San Francisco. It was there the Herman started his serious immersion in the Blues, studying the work of Brownie McGhee, Bukka White, Mance Lipscomb, Lightin' Hopkins, Son House, K.C. Douglas, and others like them.

After becoming a pillar of the San Francisco Blues scene, Herman started touring outside of the Bay area in 1984 and has played clubs and festivals throughout the country since.


A truly special thing about Herman is his dedication to spreading the Blues and explaining its importance to music in America . That is why he has spent 35 years participating in the Blues in the Schools. Created by The Blues Foundation, the program sends Blues artists to teach school children about the Blues and its influence on American music.

A few years ago I had the good fortune to sit in on two “Hawkeye” Herman presentations in area schools. One for First through Third graders and the other for Fourth through Sixth graders and I can assure you that “Hawkeye” is a master of engaging them.


One of the themes of his programs is based on the song “The Blues Had a Baby and They Called It Rock and Roll.” According to Michael that simple line of lyrics is something he has found that even the younger kids hold on to and usually leave the assembly singing it and retaining an entry level understanding of how our culture developed.

In 2014, Michael “Hawkeye” Herman is now in his 36th year of participation in Blues in the Schools and should be commended for his important work.


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