When you consider some of the legendary Canadian artists we have sadly lost over the past decade, we’ve often seen a resurgence of popularity in their music. Losing Leonard Cohen (2016) and Gord Downie (2017) in consecutive years, both artists continue to garner plenty of posthumous love – whether across the radio airwaves, or through re-issued albums (or unreleased material, as in the case of Gord Downie). And more recently, with the passing of Gordon Lightfoot and Robbie Robertson, we’re witnessing an outpouring of love and admiration across many concert and festival stages this summer – as artists and fans come together to pay tribute to their musical heroes.
Another popular artist taken from us too soon was Newfoundland’s Ron Hynes (2015) – born in St. John’s and raised in Ferryland, Ron released music for four decades (both solo and as part of the Wonderful Grand Band) – yet was a folk musician I must confess to having no knowledge of prior to his passing. I would soon discover his heartfelt music when seeing many Newfies live in concert over the years that followed – notably Ian Foster, Matthew Byrne, The Once, and The Fortunate Ones (to name a few) – keeping alight an eternal flame in Ron’s memory through their own interpretations of his songs and stories of how his music and influence impacted their lives. The legacy of Ron Hynes continues to be revered by many of these artists, not indifferent to how many of us mainlanders feel about John Lennon.
Fans of this late Canadian treasure shall rejoice today with the announcement of “Sonny Don’t Go Away: A Tribute to Ron Hynes” – a collection of 20 popular Hynes songs recorded by Newfoundland and Labrador-based artists (produced by Alan Doyle and Cory Tetford) scheduled for release on October 20th (via Sonic Records). Featuring a who’s who ensemble of popular Newfies (Kellie Loder, Amelia Curran, and many more), the first teaser of music is also shared today, courtesy of Tim Baker (Hey Rosetta), who opts to cover “Leaving on the Evening Tide.” Tim’s choice of song was sourced from Ron’s 1997 “Face to the Gale” album – one that also brought us “Sonny’s Dream,” “Godspeed,” and “St. John’s Waltz” – all of which can be found on this upcoming tribute album.
It is easy to become lost immediately within the striking opening piano notes, before recalibrating our senses as Tim’s vocals burst from the speakers to deliver those recognizable lines: “I am leavin’, on the evenin’ tide / Now mother don’t, go cryin’ / For my own tears, are hard enough to hide / And they won’t survive sad, partin’ / For I am bound away, to Americay / No I can’t delay, no my mind won’t change / Let your young man say goodbye, before your boy, begins to cry / I am leavin’, on the evenin’ tide / I am leavin’ on the evenin’ tide.” As expected, Tim pulls no punches with this outstanding cover, singing deep from the heart, with gusto and passion. But don’t take my word for it – click PLAY on the video link below and prepare to be amazed.
Tim Baker delivers a stunning interpretation of this tune (you WILL listen more than just once), and certainly builds anticipation for the remaining 19 tracks we can expect to hear very soon. “For the people who knew and loved Ron, this will be an emotional and important tribute to him,” adds co-producer Alan Doyle, acknowledging that every artist he approached for this project instantly said yes. “Dealing with Ron Hynes material in this neck of the woods is like dealing with the bible. He showed people like me that we could be ourselves and we should be ourselves and not try to pretend we’re from anywhere else. This is just 20 songs. We could easily do 20 more.”
Photo Credit: Artist Website