Hank Cramer is one of the best-loved folksingers in the American West. He is widely known for his booming bass voice, smooth picking on a vintage flat-top guitar, and his wry sense of humor. He has a repertoire of over a thousand modern and traditional songs, spanning the genres of celtic, appalachian, maritime, cowboy, and plain old folk music. He is more than simply a performer, however. He is a historian and educator who weaves music and history into presentations which bring to life the rich story of America’s westward movement, and give his audiences insight into the “folk process” by which traditional songs evolve and change to describe new events.
Hank has performed for the National Historic Oregon Trail Center for thirteen years now. For ElderHostel, he has taught “Northwest History In Story & Song” three times a year for over a decade. Other long-term clients include Humanities Washington; Buffalo Bill Historic Center (Cody, WY); the High Desert Museum (Bend, OR); the National Maritime Historic Park (San Francisco); the Maritime Museum of British Columbia; the USS Constellation (Baltimore); Grays Harbor Historic Seaport (Aberdeen, WA); and the Tall Ships Challenge Series (Pacific Coast and Great Lakes). He founded and directs two specialized music education programs, Sea Shanty Camp and Cowboy Song & Poetry Camp. Hank has also performed for veterans’ groups and events around the country.
Hank’s music has garnered professional recognition in the music industry. He has been selected to receive the Humanities Washington Award for 2011. Heartland Public Radio named his recording of “My Sweet Wyoming Home” to the Top Five Cowboy Songs of 2007. Texas Public Radio “Random Routes” listed two of Hank’s songs in their Top Twenty of 2007, while Northwest Public Radio’s “Inland Folk” chose his CD “Songs From Maurie’s Porch” as one of the Top Ten Folk Albums of 2006.
After 9/11, Hank interrupted his music career to resume military service. He taught Army ROTC at the University of Washington, then volunteered to deploy as an adviser and trainer to the Afghan National Army. He was injured during this tour of duty, medevaced back to the US, and is now retired from the Army Reserve.