The Man of a Thousand Songs is the acclaimed feature-length documentary which premiered at last week’s Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and finally bestows upon Ron Hynes, Canadian folk singer and prolific songwriter, the exposure and prominence he so richly deserves.
Ron’s journey has not been without a singular nightmare and many risks. In a candid half hour conversation, he readily admitted to the demon which has been a brute force to wrestle with in his personal life and in the laborious process of song writing, “He’s always wanted to be in charge and along for the ride, but I’ve got no time for him anymore and I’m far too strong now.”
Thankfully, that demon hadn’t been present in his childhood when music was constantly on his mind, having written a song for his mother at the age of nine, followed by his father’s gift of a first guitar. The pioneering rock ‘n’ roll of Buddy Holly and the appearance of the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show in 64 struck a life-changing chord and determined that music would forever be Ron’s one and only pursuit, in spite of his mother’s passionate plea, which echoed the protests of parents throughout North America, “No, no, no, you’re not going to wear your hair and sing like those four guys!”
Ron’s most difficult career decision was to continue living in Newfoundland in his late father’s house, fifty feet from the Atlantic and remain Canadian in loyalty and in song, “By not heading for Los Angeles, New York, or Nashville, you’re never going to get rich, but you’ll create great songs and be a songwriter instead of an industry writer. I’ll follow song writing to my grave.”
“Necessary” is the one word that sums up and defines anyone’s journey and life-long search, whether it be for the perfect song, a fulfilling career, a guiding faith or a longing for true love. It resulted in the monumental contribution of Shakespeare, Bach, Bob Dylan, Gordon Lightfoot, the Beatles and the infinite number of influential artists who have made a difference. It definitely drives the life and music of Ron Hynes.
Photo Credit Kent Nason