Hendrickson, Ernie : Down the Road
Quickly becoming one of the most recognizable names in the midwest, Ernie Hendrickson, now at the age of 30, already has the musical resume of a seasoned veteran. Having shared the same stage with artists such as Jon Scofield, Victor Wooten, Leftover Salmon, Tim Reynolds, The Jerry Garcia Band, Particle, and members of Umphrey's McGee, along with playing the most prestigious of venues and festivals, Ernie Hendrickson has the references and experience to back it up. Long before he picked up his guitar and took the ride down Highway 90 from Rockford to Chicago, Ernie Hendrickson has been crafting songs straight from the heart of Middle America. With a songwriting style that's as natural as a summer breeze, he has been compared to the likes of Tom Petty, Neil Young, and The Allman Brothers. Though as an ever evolving artist, he is difficult to pigeon-hole, Hendrickson ventures into the realm of acoustic blues, bluegrass, folk, rock, and pop, reaching a sound that is original yet familiar - described in a recent review as 'true americana'. His lyrics are passionate and to the point, and his roster of supporting musicians is always impressive. Since his younger years when he used to reach for the radio as soon as he stepped in the car, Ernie Hendrickson has always had a passion for music. He began playing guitar at age 10, and fondly remembers writing songs even at times when there were only a few strings left on the guitar. Hungry for musical experience, Hendrickson began experimenting with additional instruments such as the baritone horn and drums, played in high school jazz band, and founded The Seed Band, to which he credits his first real initiations into the music biz. The group, which lasted throughout his college years at Illinois State - traveled, played clubs, festivals, and parties, along with the recording of a few records. The experience of the workings of a traveling band proved to be immeasurable to Hendrickson. He also cites seeing Phish as being a life changing experience, shaping his approach to how a live show should be executed. His latest release 'Down the Road' is a departure from previous work, offering up a less is sometimes more mentality. This approach allows Hendrickson's songwriting style to shine brightly. Drawing from early inspiration in songwriters such as Bob Dylan and Neil Young, and those of later years (Jerry Garcia, Bela Fleck, Tom Waits ), the various types of jazz, bluegrass and folk all figure prominently into Hendrickson's styling. Songs such as 'Down the Road' and 'Seasons Change' paint vivid pictures with exceptional storytelling. Crystal clear acoustic guitar arrangements and shimmering pedal steel lines contribute to the down home feel of Hendrickson's latest effort, which features legendary harmonica player Howard Levy on five of the fourteen tracks. Having spent years creating an identity in Chicago's aggressive music scene, Ernie Hendrickson has found his place amongst the finest singer-songwriters. With tenacity the size of Illinois, he has musically matured long before most. The combination of heartfelt songs and dynamic and engaging performances has earned him a devoted following in the Midwest, which he is now taking to the national level.