Godspeed Ron Hynes

Ron Hynes.jpg

Submitted by Don Graham

Ron Hynes “The Man of a Thousands Songs” and the voice of Newfoundland and Labrador has died. He was 64 years old. His family confirmed  he died shortly after 6 p.m. on November 20, 2015. while receiving treatment at the Health Sciences Centre in St. John's, Newfoundland. Hynes wrote many classic tunes but he is best known for his song “Sonny's Dream”,  a beautiful song about a mother losing her son to the sea. Written in 1976, “Sonny’s Dream” has been covered by artists such as Emmy Lou Harris, Stan Rogers, Valdy, Great Big Sea and John McDermott.

In July 2012, Ron Hynes was diagnosed with throat cancer and in August of that same year he performed to a sold-out crowd  at the Mile One Centre in St. John's. That was to be his last performance before undergoing cancer treatment. For this concert he was reunited with his old band, The Wonderful Grand Band. His cancer went into remission the following year and he went  back out on tour.

Musical friends and fans lit up social media with stories and personal memories of the iconic songwriter/ performer, some of them saying it was fitting that the city was plunged into darkness by a power failure as news broke about his death."The lights went out downtown," tweeted comedian Mark Critch, a fellow Newfoundlander. "St. John's is dark tonight and so it should be."

Great Big Sea’s singer-songwriter Alan Doyle described Hynes online as his "musical hero'' and "The greatest songwriter I ever met.''

Comedian Rick Mercer, another Newfoundlander, described Hynes as the "poet laureate of Newfoundland and Labrador."

Toronto singer/songwriter Julian Taylor shared on Facebook has memory of Ron. “The lights went out on George St last night. It was God’s way of telling us that a flame burns bright in the night sky. We lost a giant yesterday. I lost a friend and a mentor. I'm broken hearted and once again Ron you have left me speechless. We spoke just a couple of weeks ago. Last night I kept reading what you had said to me. You said "I am not scared". That'll stay with me forever. Your kindness and all out stunningly absurd bravado has always been one of my favourite qualities of yours, so thank you. Just before I got on stage last night the battery in my guitar went out and in that moment I thought of you and that time when I was playing Winterfolk at Dora Keogh's. My battery died then too, just as I was going on stage. You were sitting in the front row and saw what was going on. You jumped up and ran to the corner store to buy me a battery. You saved me and my set. I suppose that not many people can say that Ron Hynes was once their roadie. lol. I know that you loved me and mutual feelings are always the same. I love you too and I'm so sad that you're gone. When I was only 19 we were introduced. I was a stupid kid trying to find my way in music. With your help Uncle Ron, I think I am starting to. I raise my glass to you. You are the finest of songwriters the world did ever see. Rest easy dear friend and I will see you on the flip side. Till then. One love.”

Jeff Liberty, who booked Ron posted “I'm going to miss you! You were an original!! In heaven your voice is strong again and all is how it should be. Sending love my friend!”

And Canadian treasure Ken Tobias  said “ Ron Hynes was a great musical soul.”

Rest in peace brother Ron and Godspeed.