"With strong 'words of earnest' impeachment and yet so cautiously that he prefers to quote old dead authors..." 
Andrew Steimetz-1848 in History of the Jesuits.
Welcome to Words of Ernest, Friends. I am a multi-faceted writer/author/music journalist, non-mainstream performing singer-songwriter. I also love to cover traditional old time tunes and several songwriters whose work I love. I play guitar, fiddle, keyboards and mountain dulcimer. Call it folk. If it ain't fun, I ain't doin it. Read all about Words of Ernest here.


Story Songs at the 51st Walnut Valley Festival!

I have had the great fortune to share the stage with some of the nation’s finest songwriters and this year’s Walnut Valley Festival “Story Songs with Ernie” set is going to be a highlight for sure with Jim Ratts and Elexa Dawson, two seasoned pros in the Roots/Americana field.

Elexa Dawson is one of the busiest and prolific songwriters and business women in the field. Born from Oklahoma Potawatomi and Cherokee country, Elexa now calls the Kansas Flint Hills her home. Elexa is an outreach coordinator for Folk Alliance International as well as co-founder/producer at Goodway Gardens in Emporia, Kansas- a project utilizing native plant gardening and live music to promote a sustainable lifestyle and agricultural education while creating a platform and venue for Roots musicians.

Elexa's first solo album “Music is Medicine'' (Lost Cowgirl Records) brings her storytelling to life through loveable lamentations, and won her “Best Country Recording” at the Native American Music Awards. Her stirring performances connect land-based programming to folk stages.Two albums from Elexa’s primary ensemble, Weda Skirts, (“Many Moons”, “Mother”) offer immaculate harmonies, articulating themes of nature, kinship, passion, and place. Elexa’s song and video “Circle Song” is an example of her depth and heart and intentions to promote peace and harmony. “you belong in the circle”.

Two albums from Elexa’s primary ensemble, Weda Skirts, (“Many Moons”, “Mother”) offer immaculate harmonies, articulating themes of nature, kinship, passion, and place. Elexa also co-fronts Heyleon, a 7-piece, bluegrass-adjacent joyride, and released Heyleon's “Friends & Family”, “Fiddle Road”, and "The Stranger" on her label, Turns Out Records. To hear my interview with Elexa for the 51st Walnut Valley Festival Campground Radio, click the pic! elexadawson.com








Jim Ratts has some stories to tell for sure! Everything from writing hit Roots songs like Howlin’ At the Moon, recorded by Sam Bush and on Sam’s album, titled with the same name, to writing Ozark Nights for the John McCuen produced film about the Dillards, Ozark Nights, to being the man behind the amplification of John Hartford’s famous plywood dancing board. Jim even wrote for the Kingston Trio. Jim is proficient in so many areas as well as being a pro sound engineer. He hales from Englewood CO, and travels often to Lubbock TX, where he earned his degree in psychology, to record in their state-of-the-art studio.

In the early 1980’s, serendipitously, Jim Ratts joined forces with Jimmy Ibbotson of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and Jim Salestrom who performed in Dolly Parton’s band for 12 years, along with Sam Bush to form The Wild Jimbos, and went on to record two albums and tour. Jim Ratts’ “Howlin at the Moon” was listed as one of the top 200 songs of the decade. Jim continues to tour when he’s not working on projects and enjoying the Rockies with his talented wife, co/musician and graphic artist, Sally, who, along with Denver based artist Greg Carr, did the cover for Steve Martin’s Grammy winning album “The Crow”. Together, Jim and Sally front the band “Runaway Express”. Jim’s album covers are out of the world art! They pop up and spread out! Grab a copy of “Howlin at the Moon” and see for yourself, while listening to some great originals and covers. To hear my interview with Jim Ratts for the 51st Walnut Valley Festival Campground Radio, click the pic!  runawayexpress.com

Click pic to ck out Story Songs and see the full set from JHMF9 with The Matchsellers, Bill Poss and The Whispering Willows!

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"I have had the great pleasure to work with Ernie for more years than he or I probably would want to admit. At our request, Ernie has written opening statements for the 'Walnut Valley Festival Program' close to a dozen times, numerous invitation letters for the “Walnut Valley July Occasional” advertising folder, the over-view story for our festival wrap up “December Occasional” and assorted recording reviews of performing artists, and human interest stories in our daily festival publication “The WVA Voice”. The total number of times we have reproduced Ernie’s stories has surpassed over 450,000 copies and we have been more than pleased by the craft at which Ernie composes each of the stories we have commissioned him to write. We would recommend Ernie Hill to assist anyone that has a story to tell and a desire to express it in a creative, down to-earth, professional way. You can expect to find more of Ernie’s work in the future publications of the Walnut Valley Festival. Rex Flottman, Media Director Walnut Valley Association

"Ernie Hill is a quintessential fan of music and the history of American music, and as such, he loves the craft, the art, the pure sound, and the people who make it. His writing is loving and honest. He’s a troubadour for roots music and musicians — and the stories they carry within.” -Betse Ellis of Betse and Clarke

Mike Flynn-Host of 'The Folk Sampler', NPR  "Ernie writes very well...getting to the meat of the story with ease.  He writes about things he understands...and loves. That all shows in his stories.” 

Allie Jean, formerly of The Whipstitch Sallies: "Ernie Hill's conversational, stream-of consciousness style in The Cosmic Path does exactly what he is encouraging his readers to do - open your mind, use the words or work of others as long as you give credit, and value creativity over convention. The Cosmic Path is a rumination, a sharing of ideas, an invitation to be inspired, a calling to create that will challenge and uplift the Muse in you."

Musician and Publicist Nick Loss-Eaton, New York, "Ernie has been great to work with, professional, courteous, enthusiastic, and always capturing the essence of the music about which he writes." http://nicklosseatonmedia.com/