‘Stealing Genius’ based on works by local authors
Top photo, Ron Hynes. Bottom photos from left, Amelia Curran, Mark Bragg and Maureen Ennis.
It’s shaping up to be an eventful week for Ron Hynes.
Saturday night, “The Man of a Thousand Songs,” filmmaker Bill MacGillivray’s feature-length documentary about Hynes, was screened at the closing gala of the St. John’s International Film Festival.
On Wednesday, he will launch his eighth solo album, “Stealing Genius,” with a show at the LSPU Hall in St. John’s.
The album was written in September 2008, during a sojourn to Woody Point, in a house owned by Random House Publishing editor Dianne Martin.
Hynes had already written “House,” based on a work by Stan Dragland called “Stormy Weather,” and had come up with the idea of writing a song based on Randall Maggs’ “Nightwork: The Sawchuk Poems.”
“It occurred to me, I had two pieces by two of the province’s really brilliant writers — why not go to all the writers?” Hynes told The Telegram. “The more I went down that path, the larger it got, and it ended up a full album.”
Hynes said he spent a month working day and night on the project, and ended up with a collection of songs he feels is his best work yet.
Other than “Dragland” and “Maggs,” the songs were inspired by some of Hynes’ favourite authors and poets, including Donna Morrissey, Des Walsh, Al Pittman and Michael Crummey. A few of the tunes are specifically Hynes’, he said.
“Ron Hynes is a grand voyeur in this rough, sweet life; a melody writer of the first order, a storyteller, a philosopher, a poet and a kick-ass performer that makes my hair stand on end,” Morrissey said in a media release.
Hynes, best known for the classic “Sonny’s Dream,” is a former member of Wonderful Grand Band, a six-time East Coast Music Award winner, a Genie Award winner, and a Juno, Canadian Folk Music Awards and Canadian Country Music Association Awards nominee.
In “The Man of a Thousand Songs, Hynes speaks candidly about his career and his demons, including failed relationships and an addiction to cocaine.
Good songwriters must spend 20 years writing before they can write quality songs, he says in the film, and he repeated the theory when asked about how his own career has changed over the years, and how his personal struggles have affected his songwriting.
“It’s not a matter of how it’s changed; it just has. It’s not specific,” he said. “I’ve got to live life to write. As long as I’m living, it will evolve.”
Hynes will be joined on stage by Alison Black, Paul Kinsman, Paul Turner and Paul “Boomer” Stamp at the “Stealing Genius” release show. Tickets are $22 in advance, and are available at the LSPU Hall, by calling 753-4531, or online at www.rca.nf.ca. Showtime is 8 p.m.