That throat cancer claimed Newfoundland’s most popular singer-songwriter seems particularly unfair. He made a career with his voice, and sadder still, he had another record ready to go. Like wine, most songwriters get better with age, so who knows what would have followed. We do know what’s left behind was a legacy of stirring songs that paved the way for many musicians to come after him.
While he is best known as “the man of a thousand songs” for his output, perhaps the better claim to fame is this: Ron Hynes is credited as the first songwriter in the province to release an album of exclusively original songs.That album was Discovery, released in 1972, when he was in his early 20s.
In addition to his own albums, he was a founding member of The Wonderful Grand Band, and his reach reached well past the island — over 100 artists have covered his songs, including country legend Emmylou Harris. In fact, here’s Atlantic Canada’s Catherine MacLellan covering “1962”[kad_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWMypc0IubE” ]
Word is, people are gathering at The Ship right now to have a drink in his name, with some old albums on. If you can’t make it, here’s a track off the last album he recorded, Stealing Genius, an ominously titled final album, as he never did get to see the release of his 8th solo album.[kad_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JggXrNW1kdU” ]
And one more, which he always called his best song, “Atlantic Blue,” written for those who lost their lives on the Ocean Ranger.[kad_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBwlR1-jNFA” ]
Since posting this, Ron’s manager has been in touch. We can expect not only the new Ron Hynes album in the future, but also a book in the spring.
A wonderful voice is silent but aren’t we fortunate to enjoy his poetry forever.