Monday, September 10, 2007

Double Hynes on the Rock

from Rowdymen of the Rock
Alison Gzowski
The Globe and Mail

September 7, 2007

ST. JOHN'S — Sooner or later the question had to be asked: What about the book? It's Saturday afternoon and Ron Hynes, Newfoundland's man of a thousand songs, has been setting up what must be his thousandth show at the legendary St. John's bar, the Ship Inn. Dressed for the sound check, with a red flannel shirt and sneakers, the 56-year old still sports his trademark fedora and, on occasion, sardonic grin.

e's a natural raconteur, quick with a playful line or sharp analysis wherever the conversation goes.

Today he's talking about music (“Songs define a culture – who you are, where you come from, what happened to you, who your people are, what you love and why”); and about his province, “this unforgiving place” that he keeps returning to in both body and song; and he's greeting tourists who pop by to tell him they're coming to the show because they hear he's the best (“Write that down”).

He'll tell you that he draws bigger audiences off the island, but walk the streets with him and be prepared for a leisurely stroll; he can't go a block without encountering someone who knows him or his music.
He's a mentor to many here, including Great Big Sea's Alan Doyle who says: “Few writers of song, poetry, or prose can portray a character as effectively. After only a few lines about the Man of a Thousand Songs, the lonely cabbie, or the grieving widow, Ron somehow makes us all feel like he is describing a person we've known our entire lives.”

But forget, for a moment, the awards, the honorary degree, the 30-year international success of his folk classic Sonny's Dream or even his profoundly haunting Atlantic Blue, about the sinking of the Ocean Ranger on Valentine's Day in 1982, called “a masterpiece of understatement” in a recent collection of academic essays.

There is, right now, a more tantalizing topic to be discussed. What about the book by his 30-year-old nephew Joel Thomas Hynes?

To read the rest of this article, please click here.


The unabridged audio edition of Down to the Dirt, Joel Thomas Hynes' award winning first novel, is narrated by Joel Thomas Hynes, Sherry White and Jonny Harris; Hard Light: 32 Little Stories, a collection of poems by Michael Crummey, is narrated by Ron Hynes, Deidre Gillard-Rowlings and the author. Both are available from Rattling Books.