Every lover of Canadian roots music has been reeling this past week with the death of Ron Hynes. Ron, who died far too soon, was truly one of this country’s most gifted and most beloved songwriters, and a cultural treasure particularly in Newfoundland. He was also a complex artist, with many demons, as captured in the documentary film “The Man of a Thousand Songs”.
When Ron took sick recently, I watched Episode 14 of the Woodshed Sessions, an edited version of a conversation I had with him in 2011, intercut with songs recorded live that day. But after Ron died, it took a while before I could look back at this, the full length interview we did in the Roots Music Canada studio.
I didn’t know Ron Hynes overly well; we were fellow travellers on the road of song and we saw one another from time to time at festivals and pubs. But I had always treasured the connection we had in this conversation. Ron was so articulate, so charming, and so thoughtful. I still feel honoured to have talked with him at some length.
On review I’m reminded that there is much to be pondered here: the way Ron fiddles with his mic cable at certain points. The way he talks about his father. The way he justifies speaking of himself as three different characters. But then again, there’s his poise, his eloquence, his insight. He’s an artist sure of his game, confident in his work and seemingly at the height of his powers.
That same sure touch comes through in the two songs we shot that day. A man with many foibles, a frail human who ultimately succumbed to what he could not control, Ron was also among the greatest songwriters this country has known. I am glad these videos show him that way. I’ll always be grateful that we saw, heard, and recorded Ron Hynes in finest form.