Ernie Payne was born into a large family in Louisiana’s Arcadia Parish in 1945 and raised in East Texas by god fearing Baptists and Creole Catholics. Their strict hard working philosophy brought him up with a love of music and led him over the years to be employed as a songwriter for various publishers and to front a number of musical entities.
Honing his skills on guitar and dobro he lived for a while with his wife and two sons in New York and eventually settled on Los Angeles where he was found by Jan Mittendorp of Black and Tan Records in 2004. Startled, no doubt, by having found a fully formed unknown wunderkind of 58, Jan hustled him into the studio and the amazing album ‘Coercion Street’ was the result.
Receiving rave reviews in all the major blues publications and hailed by Acoustic Magazine as a masterpiece, the CD was followed by Ernie’s first European tour that found the critics falling over themselves to praise the new ‘Ted Hawkins’ and included a recording session for Andy Kershaw.
Oddly enough for an Afro-American artist who is feted by the blues fraternity he sounds more like John Hiatt albeit on a brilliant day. That said, Hiatt, on a bad day would be worth travelling a long way to hear and anyone who can write songs like ‘There Ain’t Nothing Wrong With Texas That Leaving Won’t Fix’ just demands to be listened to.
His Shakedown gig in Stamford was a resounding success and we had hoped to bring him back. Unfortunately Ernie returned home to the United States and was beset by health problems which eventually led to his untimely death in Sept 2007. RIP