I was ten when we moved to Halifax, from St. John’s Newfoundland.
It was a culture shock of new experiences where kids didn’t go to religion-based schools, jeans were worn instead of uniforms and my unique accent and use of the word “ye” stood out like a sore thumb.
In no time, I fit in to my new life…but home, Newfoundland, was never far from who I was.
The Christmas I was twelve, my family was given the Wonderful Grand Band’s “Living in a Fog” record. Quite possibly, it was due to the simple fact that it contained a song called “The Merry Blacksmith” and my Pop Coady was a local blacksmith. Who was indeed, quite merry!
The album meant the world to me.
I recall playing it for my friends, cracking up to the “punk” song “Babylon Mall” and the comedic song “Living in a Fog.” They simply had no sweet clue as to why I found it so entertaining but to this day, it still makes me smile.
As does “Sonny’s Dream.”
I played it over and over trying to convince my young friends that “this was music!” Not until they hit the Lower Deck, many years later, yelling out the words while taking a “sociable”…did they start to understand the song I’d played those years before.
Last night, I attended “The Power of Song – Rallying for Ron” at the Rebecca Cohen. A tribute for the “Man of a Thousand Songs” who is currently battling throat cancer. The night included the amazing East Coast talents of Dave Gunning, Catherine McLellan, Lennie Gallant, JP Cormier, Rhapsody Quintet, Stephen Fearing, Kim Dunn, Laura Smith, Charlie A’Court, Bruce Guthro and my phenomenally talented friend, Cory Tetford (who…not that I’m biased or anything… sounded the best!)
As well as the music…there was a poetry reading from Eric MacEwen and a passage from her book read by my absolute favorite author, Donna Morrissey. AND, the entire night was hosted by the ever-hilarious Kathy Jones.
The Cohen was PACKED as stories were told, tears were shed, laughter was infectious and folks jumped to their feet in praise.
These artists told tales of the man who put Newfoundland and East Coast Music on the map. They played his songs or songs they’d co-written with him or in Donna’s case…read her words that Ron Hyne’s “stole.” No, borrowed. Wait, co-wrote!
It was remarkable, inspiring and incredibly heart warming. I was part of that room…part of the people and the music and everything that’s important about this place I call “home.”
As the evening ended, the entire group of musicians gathered on stage belting out the words of “Sonny’s Dream” (where, chances are, each and every one of them had sung it numerous times through their careers as a patron in a bar called out the request of “sing Sonny’s Dream”). However, last night, it was sung with such meaning…it was profound. Awesome. Moving.
Mr. Hynes…I wish you well. If last night was any indication of the “Power of Song,” you’ll be beating this sickness and singing your tunes in no time!
God Speed…and truly…God Damned!
If you’re in St. John’s on the 30th, there’s a tribute show for Ron at the Delta.
Also, in Toronto, two shows at Hugh’s Room on October 12th and 13th.