Ron Hynes & Chuck Brodsky
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Ron Hynes & Chuck Brodsky

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"Ron Hynes"

Mar. 16, 2006

Entertainment Columnist, Toronto Star

Songwriting 'good therapy'

January was a dismal month for Ron Hynes.

He had a new self-titled album in the can, 14 of the best songs he has ever written, recorded late last year by veteran Toronto roots music producer Paul
Mills, and his first songbook, The Songs Of Ron Hynes Vol. 1 — a collection of 26 pieces culled from the beloved Newfoundland troubadour's classic
compositions of the 1970s and '80s, published by Vinland Music — ready to be shipped.

"And I had to sit and wait for a month or more for things to get into gear," Hynes said earlier this week over the phone from Corner Brook, where he was
taking part for the second year running in that city's March Hare poetry, spoken-word and music festival, a local institution for the past 19 years.

"This was the best work of my life, before and after I sobered up, and waiting to get out on the road and start playing it ... well, it nearly killed me."

It has been just over three years since the release of his East Coast Music Award-winning Get Back Change, and about as long since Hynes, one of
Canada's most critically acclaimed musical poets, finished a 80-day residential addiction recovery program, an experience he chronicles with painful
honesty in the songs "Dry" and "My Name Is Nobody." Those tracks are arguably the most compelling and personal pieces on the new CD, which will be
launched by Borealis Records with a concert Sunday night at Hugh's Room.

"I haven't been particularly prolific in that time, just 11 new songs, one co-written with my daughter, Lily, and three older tunes — `Movie Scene,' which
I wrote while I was with Wonderful Grand Band in the 1970s and which Valdy recorded; `Sorry, Lori,' a co-write with (WGB producer) Declan Doherty; and
`Piccadilly Sand Farewell,' which I wrote with (Newfoundland fiddler and composer) Emil Benoit," said Hynes, adding that his addiction to the adrenalin
boost that comes with songwriting is almost as powerful as his addiction to alcohol and drugs.

"My counsellor told me I had to stop writing while I was in the program because the rush of creativity might impede my recovery," he explained. "But I
had to write. I couldn't stop. I'd do it under the covers at night. I was writing myself out of addiction ... it was good therapy for me."

Four songs on the new CD were recorded live — just Hynes and bassist Dennis Pendrith in concert last April at the former Longshoreman's Protective
Union Hall in St. John's, now a theatre and cultural centre — for broadcast on local CBC Radio. The performances reveal Hynes at the peak of form,
kinetically attuned to his hometown audience, in need of nothing more than his powerful narratives, soaring voice and wry humour. Their inclusion on this
landmark recording makes it indispensable.

The Hynes songbook, already hailed by cultural nationalists as a long overdue addition to the Canadian canon, includes guitar-and-voice transcriptions of
such masterpieces as "Sonny's Dream," "Atlantic Blue," "St. John's Waltz," "Back Home On The Island," "Leaving On The Evening Tide" and "Godspeed,"
songs that transcend their Newfoundland origins and were long ago absorbed into the international folk repertoire.

Noting that this is the first in a series of Hynes collections proposed by his publisher, the songwriter is particularly proud of the book, though he had no
hand in its production.

"I can't read music worth a damn," he confessed. "Reading and writing music is too exacting for someone like me. I just write a lyric and wait till it starts
singing back at me. But I've wanted to have a book of my songs for a long time. I used to look at others in music stores, the collected works of Bob Dylan,
Paul Simon and the like, and I'd think, `Where's mine? I like the idea that these songs are now available in libraries and schools, new Newfoundland
songs for young people to learn. These songs are who I am — not a country singer, but part of a small community of farmers and fishermen living on the
edge of the world."

And now that he's out on the road again, busier and more content than he has been in years — yet always wary, he said, of the demons that almost
consumed him — Hynes finds he has the peace of mind to take on another load. He's writing additional songs for a stage musical he and former
Wonderful Grand Band partner, comedian Mary Walsh, wrote in 1984, and which is about to be remounted.

"It's called High Steel, and it's about Newfoundlanders who helped build New York's skyscrapers in the 1920s and '30s," he said. "I'd forgotten all about
it, and when Mary played the original songs for me, I couldn't believe how good they were”.

“I can do this. I'm good now. I feel great. I'm glad to be out there, glad to be doing it ... one day at a time."

- Greg Quill/Toronto Star

"Ron Hynes"

Review from PENGUIN EGGS

Issue No. 30 – Summer 2006

Ron Hynes

Ron Hynes


Fourteen songs from the pen of one of Canada's most respected songwriters. About three years
ago Newfoundlander Ron Hynes went through treatment for his addictions and eleven of these
songs date from between then and now. A couple of them are a direct result of that experience;
Dry and My Name Is Nobody, and they both communicate the pain and personal suffering
endemic to the detoxification process. The other three are older songs, reworked for this
collection. Stylistically, it's acousticcountry- tinged balladry, in the main. Lyrically, they focus in
on storytelling, with each song having a cinematic quality, that brings the characters, and the
situations they find themselves in, to life. Instrumentally, there's some great playing. A couple of
highlights are the steel guitar on Sorry Lori and the dobro on Movie Scene. Emotionally, this is
powerful stuff. There's a rawness and immediacy to what is being expressed that evokes empathy
and engagement in the listener. A real treat for all but the faint of heart.

By Tim Readman

- Tim Readman/Penguin Eggs

"Bio/photo: contact info"

Please consult individual websites for further bio/recording/performance history as well as download of photos/posters/music. - websites

"Chuck Brodsky/Tulips for Lunch"

Over the last decade or two, Chuck Brodsky has written himself into the history of American folk by being an old school storyteller of the highest order. Even the sound of his voice is like a classic character actor, and his very able playing is only ever there to support the song, which is there to support the story. And this transparency is rather remarkable in the age of celebrity, where people will apparently eat vile or poisonous things or perform reckless or ridiculous acts for their fifteen minutes (or even seconds) of fame.
Chuck is rightly most famous for his songs about sports, notably songs about baseball. He's even cut a CD called Baseball Ballads, and has nine songs in the Sound Recording Library of the Baseball Hall of Fame, where's he's performed numerous concerts. And this new record has two truly outstanding examples of baseball songs, "The Curse of the Billy Goat" (chronicling the curious black cloud over the Chicago Cubs), and "The Death Row All Stars," a sad enchantment. There is also a great kind of a football song, "The Great Santa Snowball Debacle of 1968." (The first song begins in 1945, the second in 1911, so Chuck's depth as a raconteur is topical at the historical level.)
But the stories go far afield of sport, as is the Brodksyian way. "Old Song Handed Down" honors an unnamed musical ancestor in a photograph. I succumbed to a tearjerker waltz called "A Toast to the Woman in the Holler." Most impressive was a ping pong toast to his old man called "The Point," classic. The two most outrageous stories are "Mary the Elephant" (you won't believe it) and "The Ballad of D.B. Cooper." And there are four or five more just as good, not a flat spot to be found.
I love the reading Chuck does of a piece by Nick Annis , "In the Beginning," and wish it were required in every church, and every school. Chuck has a strong political streak (just hit the "truths" link on his website to see 32 links of a political or pacifistic nature) and this shows up on this disc on "Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire."
The majesty of the songs is served by the magic of J.P. Cormier, the multi-instrumentalist producer from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. This is their second record together, and on this outing he plays a dozen instruments. (That's what I call producing.)
They don't make them like Chuck Brodsky anymore. You could count them on one hand and still hold a huge beer at the ball game.   • Frank Goodman - Pure Music.

"Chuck Brodsky - feature article"

Issue # 24 Winter 2004
The Brodsky Beat

Not much of a courier, Chuck Brodsky, but one of the best ballad songwriters in America, reckons Roddy Campbell. Brodsky's latest disc was recorded with J.P. Cormier on Cape Breton Island -- far from the buckle of the Bible belt and Irish hotels.

Enoch Kent grabs Chuck Brodsky in a warm embrace. “You are great,” roars Kent. “Such marvelous songs. Marvelous.

When Enoch Kent raises his voice to praise a performer, take heed. This man sang with Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger at the outset of the British folk revival. He hung out with a young Bob Dylan. And he has written folk songs the lives of Garnet Rogers and Jean Redpath covered. So yeah, Enoch Kent knows a thing or two about great songwriters -- his pal Chuck Brodsky included.

We're backstage at the soon-to-close Marquee in Halifax, NS, on a mild Saturday afternoon in late November. Brodsky's here performing songs from his new disc, Color Came One Day, at a private showcase during the RendezVous Folk/Nova Scotia Music Week conference and charms the socks of various movers and shakers of the Canadian music industry.

Recorded on Cape Breton Island and produced by that giant of a man, J.P. Cormier, Color Came One Day merely confirms what many of us have suspected for several years now: that Brodsky's unquestionably the best folk ballad songwriter currently in America -- bar none.

With a deceptively gentle delivery and a preposterous arsenal of warm, disarming humour laced with cunning, caustic barbs, his striking songs take aim at a variety of social and political ills. That's not to say the disc is full of polemics. The Room Over The Bar tells an hilarious tale in a hotel room from Hell.

“I didn't make one thing up,” says Brodsky. “It was a place I was staying at in Ireland . Ireland is a small country. I'm better not to mention the town. I did so at a gig in Dublin but I didn't mention the name of the hotel. That hotel is the only one for miles around and everybody in the room knew exactly where I was talking about. I'll never stay there again.”

The blue-collar philosophy of The 9:30 Pint also has Irish roots -- where else are you going to get a pint of beer at that time in the morning? Then there's the lovingly told Miracle In The Hills about a doctor and his wife who bring comfort and education to the once remote people of the Blue Ridge Mountains .

The absolute show-stoppers, though, include a peep behind the facade of a model suburb, Forest Hills Sub, and the deadpan commentary about the ongoing undermining of America's democratic and civil rights, Dangerous Times. Clearly, Chuck Brodsky did not vote for George Bush during the recent U.S. presidential election.

“I don't think we've ever seen an administration like this. They are a bunch of liars,” says the quietly spoken Brodsky, who lives on the buckle of the Bible-belt, Asheville, NC. “I do as much reading as I possibly can about them and I have just learned so much that has shocked me to my core. I don't think they have any integrity whatsoever.”

Not surprisingly then, Brodsky is actively thinking of moving to Canada .

“I really love it up here. But the real reason is I'm a huge hockey fan. There aren't many folks around Asheville who are into it.”

Indeed, he has written three songs about hockey, including his comical The Hockey Fight Song, part tribute to former Philadelphia Flyer Dave “The Hammer” Schultz. Still, it's Brodsky's brilliant baseball ballads that have largely generated his international reputation as a unique and compelling storyteller. The wonderful Ballad of Eddie Klepp -- the true story of a white man playing in the Negro Leagues before Jackie Robinson broke baseball's colour barrier. Or there's his hilarious Dock Ellis' No-No , which tells how Ellis pitched a rare no-hitter for the Pittsburgh Pirates on June 12th, 1970 stoned on LSD. The most moving of the lot is surely Letters In The Dirt -- a dignified tribute to Philadelphia Phillies great Richie Allen, who would write “Boo” in giant letters in the infield track when taunted by fans.

“When I was a little kid, Richie Allen was my favorite player in baseball. My dad would take me out to the ball games and hue fans would boo this guy. He was the best player on the team so it kind of haunted me. I found out as an adult that there was a certain racial element to the situation. One of them being that Richie Allen was really the first African-American player that was an everyday regular player for the team. This was early to mid-sixties, long after the colour barrier had been broken. Richie Allen was I guy who I guess came along before his time. In a day and age when black players were not expected to speak out on issues, he always stood up for what he believed in. Always stood up for himself. The rest of the world wasn't ready for that.”

Chuck Brodsky grew up in the Philadelphia suburb of Bala-Cynwyd, PA, and took up piano at an ea - Penguin Eggs


Both artists have a longstanding recording career - Ron just recently won the 2007 East Coast Music Award, Best Solo Artist while Chuck's songs appear in movies as well as around impromptu campfire gatherings.





Widely acknowledged as one of Canada's premier singer-songwriters, Ron Hynes was born in St. John's and raised in Ferryland on the southern shore of Newfoundland, Canada. His first musical influences were the songs of Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Del Shannon, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, and Bob Dylan.

With a songwriting career that spans more than 30 years, Ron Hynes is a six-time East Coast Music Award winner and past JUNO and CCMA nominee. He was named Artist Of The Year ('92) and presented with the prestigious Arts Achievement Award ('04), by the Newfoundland/Labrador Arts Council. He also holds an Honorary PhD from Memorial University, (for his songwriting and contribution to the cultural life of Newfoundland), and in August 2006 was recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the St. John's Folk Arts Council.

Ron began his career as a singer/songwriter in the early seventies, playing the coffeehouse circuit through Atlantic Canada and Ontario. While on a theatre tour with the Mummers Troupe in '76 he composed a song called "Sonny's Dream", that would go on to become a folk classic recorded by dozens of artists around the world.

Ron Hynes' songs have been covered by artists worldwide including Emmylou Harris, Murray McLauchlan, Valdy, Christy Moore, Mary Black, Denny Doherty, Terry Kelly, Prairie Oyster, The Irish Descendants, Susan Aglukark, The Good Brothers, The Ennis Sisters, John McDermott, Shaye, The Cottars, Hayley Westenra and many more.

Ron Hynes was a founding member of the Wonderful Grand Band, a musical comedy show featuring a six-piece traditional/folk/rock band together with various members of Codco. The group produced two albums of original work, forty-one half-hour TV shows plus specials, for CBC, and toured the country non-stop during its six-year history.

Hynes recorded two original solo albums for EMI Music Canada, "Cryer's Paradise" ('93) and "Face To The Gale" ('97). The independently produced "11:11 Nfld Women Sing" is an award winning collection of songs co-written by Ron and Connie Hynes and sung by Newfoundland's best female artists. Ron's 1998 independent release "Standing In Line In The Rain" was awarded Best New Album from MusicNL.

Ron's moonlight career as an actor resulted in two principal theatre roles, as Newfoundland songwriter Johnny Burke in The Bard Of Prescott Street, and as country legend Hank Williams in Hank Williams: The Show He Never Gave. Ron also had a lead role in the Newfoundland Independent film release "A Secret Nation", for which his original song, "The Final Breath", won a Genie Award for best song. Ron played the irrepressible Johnny Shea in the CBC/Rinkrat TV series, "Dooley Gardens", and closed out the decade as the subject of a concert/documentary film entitled Ron Hynes: The Irish Tour. Recent works include composing and performing the theme song for CBC-TV comedy series "Hatching Matching and Dispatching" and the soundtrack for animated short film "The Sparky Book". Ron wrote all of the songs for the Mary Walsh/Rick Boland stage play "High Steel" (sold out for 12 consecutive shows at LSPU Hall) and contributed two original works to the soundtrack for feature film "Young Triffie's Been Made away With".

In 2003 Ron Hynes released "Get Back Change" (Borealis Records), garnering MusicNL awards for Male Artist, Country Album and SOCAN Song of The Year, as well as the 2004 East Coast Music Award for Country Recording Of The Year and Album Of The Year. Producer Paul Mills (Stan Rogers, Tanglefoot) was at the helm for this recording.

Ron Hynes launched his long-awaited first songbook, "Songs Of Ron Hynes - Volume One", in December 2005. Published by Vinland Music and distributed by Landwash Music Distribution, "Songs Of Ron Hynes-Volume One" is a collection of 26 Ron Hynes songs, arranged for guitar, vocal and piano.

February 2006 marked the release of the (self –titled) "Ron Hynes" CD - a stirring collection of fourteen soul-baring, personal songs, being touted by all who've listened as his most brilliant work to date. Ron Hynes teamed up once again with producer Paul Mills and Borealis Records for this latest project, which includes four "live" tracks recorded at LSPU Hall in St. John's, NL.

The "Ron Hynes" CD earned him the 2007 East Coast Music Award for "Male Solo Recording of The Year", 2006 MusicNL Awards for "Songwriter Of The Year", "Folk Artist Of The Year" and "Entertainer Of The Year" and nominations for "Best Singer - Contemporary" and "Best Songwriter" from the Canadian Folk Music Awards. For more on Ron Hynes please visit and

Management & Media Contact:
Lynn Horne Marketing & Media Relations
77 Cannon Cr., Eastern Passage, NS, Canada B3G 1E8
Ph: 902-465-3763 Email:


1972…Released the album Discovery (World Records/Audat) that was the firs