Ron Hynes, the wonderful Newfoundland singer-songwriter who I wrote about in my song “Watching Picasso”, passed away yesterday. He had been battling cancer for several years. If you haven’t heard Ron’s music, I recommend his songs “The Boy from Old Perlican” and “No Change In Me” as an introduction. Ron Hynes wrote many great songs, but these two are somewhat autobiographical and capture his unique sound and some of his story nicely. You can also learn a bit more about him in this piece on the CBC website: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/ron-hynes-obituary-1.3327141
I first heard Ron play and sing at the Ship Inn in St. John’s, Newfoundland one night many years ago and I became an instant fan. I was so struck by seeing such an amazing artist (one that I’d never heard of until that day) playing in a little out of the way club, that walked back to my hotel late that night after the show and stayed awake for a long time writing a song about seeing Ron play. The next day I went to the local record store and bought every Ron Hynes record they had. Through those records I came to know many of his songs: Record Man, Get Back Change, Sonny’s Dream, The Boy from Old Perlican, and many, many more.
I am happy to say that I got to know Ron and became friends with him over the years. I interviewed him once for my radio series In Search of a Song, and he told me many times how flattered he was that I’d written a song about him. I played the Stan Rogers Festival in Nova Scotia once a few years ago and they asked me to sing “Watching Picasso” before Ron came out and played his set. I’ll never forget it. After I’d finished the song, he walked out onstage and went up to his mic and paused. Then with a sigh he said: “Welp, you know you’re getting old when they start writing songs about ya’.”
So long and thank you for all the great music Ron. I’ll miss ya’.