Ron Hynes

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Ron Hynes
Hynes performing in Gros Morne
Hynes performing in Gros Morne
Background information
Born(1950-12-07)December 7, 1950
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
DiedNovember 19, 2015(2015-11-19) (aged 64)
St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
GenresFolk, Country
Years active1972–2015
  • World Records (1972)
  • Grand East Records (1978)
  • Lost Island (1990)
  • EMI (1993)
  • Borealis Records (2003)

Ron Hynes (December 7, 1950 – November 19, 2015) was a folk singer-songwriter from Newfoundland and Labrador. He was especially known for his composition "Sonny's Dream",[1] which has been recorded worldwide by many artists and was named the 41st greatest Canadian song of all time on the 2005 CBC Radio One series 50 Tracks: The Canadian Version.[2]


Ron Hynes was born in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador in December 1950, and raised in Ferryland. He was a founding member of The Wonderful Grand Band, one of Newfoundland's most popular performing groups, and has released seven solo albums. His debut album, Discovery, released in 1972, was the first album composed of totally original content by a Newfoundland artist. Hynes is a seven-time East Coast Music Awards winner, and past Juno and Canadian Country Music Awards nominee.[3] He was named Artist of the Year ('92) and was presented with the prestigious Arts Achievement Award (2004) by the Newfoundland/Labrador Arts Council. In 2002, Hynes received an honorary Doctor of Letters from Memorial University in St. John's in recognition of his original songwriting and his contribution to the cultural heritage of Newfoundland. In 2006, Hynes was honored as the recipient of the St. John's Folk Arts Council's Lifetime Achievement Award.

Widely regarded as one of Canada's premier singer-songwriters with a career spanning over 30 years, Hynes' songs have become part of the fabric of Newfoundland culture. His work is also known outside the province; Hynes' songs have been covered worldwide by over 100 artists, including Emmylou Harris, Valdy and Christy Moore.[4]

Most recently, Hynes was the winner of Male Solo Recording of the Year at the 2007 East Coast Music Awards, and picked up three awards at the 2006 MusicNL awards show in November 2006. The awards included Entertainer of the Year, Songwriter of the Year and Folk/Roots Artist of the Year.

Hynes narrated two audiobooks for Rattling Books, Hard Light: 32 Little Stories by Michael Crummey[5] and Death on the Ice by Cassie Brown.[6]

Illness and death[edit]

In July 2012, it was announced that Ron Hynes was diagnosed with throat cancer.[7] On August 11, 2012, Hynes performed to a sold-out crowd of more than 3,000 at the Mile One Centre in St. John's. This was his last performance before undergoing cancer treatment. The concert included a reunion of Hynes' old band, The Wonderful Grand Band.[8] In the fall of 2013, he was in remission and back on tour, including participation in a Vinyl Cafe tour broadcast on CBC Radio. Hynes died at a hospital in St. John's on November 19, 2015, at the age of 64.[9][10]

After Hynes' death, actor and writer Joel Thomas Hynes,[11] his nephew, announced on Facebook[12] that Hynes suffered from drug addictions that led to his demise. "He remained a hardcore addict right to his final days. And it killed him.", said Joel Thomas Hynes.

Stage and screen career[edit]

Hynes had starred on screen and stage as an actor/writer in numerous roles dating back to the 1970s, including The Bard of Prescott Street, "Wonderful Grand Band", The Best of CODCO, Hank Williams: The Show He Never Gave, The Island Opry Show, The Lost Island Opry, Secret Nation, Anchor Zone and Dooley Gardens.



Year Album Label
1972 Discovery World Records/Audat
1978 The Wonderful Grand Band (with The Wonderful Grand Band) Grand East Records
1981 Living in a Fog (with The Wonderful Grand Band)
1987 Small Fry: The Ron Hynes Album for Children Independent
1993 Cryer's Paradise EMI
1997 Face to the Gale
1998 Standing in Line in the Rain Independent
2001 The Sandcastle Sessions
2003 Get Back Change Borealis
2006 Ron Hynes
2010 Stealing Genius
2016 Later That Same Life

An independent tribute album, entitled 11:11 – Newfoundland Women Sing Songs by Ron and Connie Hynes, was also released in 1997, with Newfoundland's finest female artists performing songs written by Ron Hynes and his ex-wife Connie.

A documentary on Hynes, entitled Man of a Thousand Songs and directed by William MacGillivray, debuted at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival.[13]


Year Single CAN Country Album
1990 "Story of My Life" singles only
"Sonny's Dream" 79
1993 "Cryer's Paradise" 18 Cryer's Paradise
"Man of a Thousand Songs" 13
1994 "No Kathleen" 10
"Atlantic Blue"
"Roy Orbison Came On" 18
1997 "Godspeed" 36 Face to the Gale
1998 "Constance"


  • Cryer's Paradise, 1993;
  • Godspeed, 1997;
  • Ron Hynes – The Irish Tour, 2000 (full-length documentary);
  • A Good Dog Is Lost, 2002;
  • Record Man, 2003.
  • THE MAN OF A THOUSAND SONGS, 2010, (feature documentary).

Awards and nominations[edit]

  • 2007 ECMA
    • won Male Artist of the Year
    • nominated Album of the Year for the album Ron Hynes
    • nominated Entertainer of the Year
    • nominated Songwriter of the Year for the song Dry
  • 2004 ECMA
    • won Album of the Year for the album Get Back Change
    • won Country Recording of the Year for the album Get Back Change
  • 1999 ECMA
    • nominated Male Artist of the Year
  • 1998 ECMA
    • nominated Country Recording of the Year
    • nominated Male Artist of the Year
    • nominated Songwriter of the Year for the song Godspeed
    • nominated Video of the Year for Godspeed
  • 1994 ECMA
    • nominated Album of the Year for album Cryer's Paradise
    • won Country Recording of the Year
    • won Male Artist of the Year
    • won Song of the Year for the song Man of a Thousand Songs
    • nominated Video of the Year for Cryer's Paradise
  • 1992 ECMA
    • nominated Song of the Year for the song Never Met a Liar
  • 1991 ECMA
    • nominated Male Artist of the Year
  • 2009 SOCAN Awards
    • won National Achievement Award


  1. ^ Christopher Moore (April 4, 2017). The Big Book of Canada (Updated Edition): Exploring the Provinces and Territories. Tundra Books. pp. 23–. ISBN 978-1-101-91894-4.
  2. ^ ""50 Tracks" list of essential Canadian music". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. 2005. Archived from the original on April 12, 2005. Retrieved April 23, 2013.
  3. ^ "Ron Hynes to undergo surgery". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. July 18, 2012. Retrieved April 23, 2013.
  4. ^ "Ron Hynes on CBC Music". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved April 23, 2013.
  5. ^ "Hard Light: 32 Little Stories by Michael Crummey". Rattling Books / Rakuten OverDrive. Retrieved August 3, 2019.
  6. ^ Cassie Brown, Harold Horwood (2011) [1972]. Death on the Ice (Cassie Brown, Harold Horwood) The Great Newfoundland Sealing Disaster of 1914. Rattling Books audiobooks, Alca Productions. ISBN 978-0-9782065-7-4.
  7. ^ "Musician Ron Hynes diagnosed with cancer". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. July 28, 2012. Retrieved April 23, 2013.
  8. ^ "'Magical' Ron Hynes performs before cancer treatment". CBC News. August 12, 2012. Retrieved April 23, 2013.
  9. ^ Michael MacDonald (November 19, 2015). "Newfoundland and Labrador folk legend Ron Hynes dead at 64". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved November 20, 2015.
  10. ^ "Songwriter Ron Hynes dead: reports – Local". The Telegram. Retrieved November 20, 2015.
  11. ^ "Singer Ron Hynes brings his folk classic to Greenbank hall"
  12. ^ The Canadian Press (November 25, 2015). "Family, friends hope Ron Hynes' death shines light on drug addiction". CTV News. Retrieved November 25, 2015.
  13. ^ Jankovic, Jovana (November 9, 2010). "Review: Man of a Thousand Songs – RWMFF 2010". Toronto Film Scene. Retrieved April 23, 2013.

External links[edit]