Ron Hynes

Ron Hynes (1950- ) is the composer behind what is perhaps the most widely known Newfoundland song, Sonny's Dream. Hynes is also a prolific and highly respected songwriter and one of the province's most visible entertainers.

Ron Hynes, 2005.
Photo by Greg Locke. Reproduced with the permission of Lynn Horne. © 2005.
(69 kb)

Born in Ferryland, Hynes began his career with a 1972 album called Discovery, recorded in Halifax. From there he moved to Toronto to work as a singer and songwriter. By 1975 he was back in Newfoundland, writing music and lyrics for stage productions by the Mummer's Troupe. In 1977 he starred in The Bard Of Prescott Street, a show about the life and music of Johnny Burke.

In 1978, Hynes was part of the cast of a CBC Television music and comedy series called The Root Cellar. The series gave birth to the Wonderful Grand Band, which became one of Newfoundland's most popular acts. Combining traditional and original songs, fresh musical ideas and comic interludes, the band spent six years touring, producing its own television series and recording two albums.

When the Wonderful Grand Band disbanded in 1983, Hynes focused on building and marketing a repertoire of new songs. He also returned to musical theatre, acted in television and film and recorded a children's album called Small Fry.

Ron Hynes, 2004.
Photo by Cal King.
Reproduced with the permission of Lynn Horne.
© 2004.
(51 kb)

By 1992 Hynes had compiled a catalogue of several hundred songs and a reputation as one of Canada's finest composers of folk and country music. Signed to a recording contract with EMI Canada, he released two critically acclaimed albums: Cryer's Paradise (1993) and Face To The Gale (1996). His association with EMI ended in 1997, but in the same year he and his wife Connie released 11:11 Newfoundland Women Sing Songs By Ron and Connie Hynes. His next album was Standing In Lines In The Rain, released independently in 1998.

In 2003 he released Get Back Change which earned the Country Recording Of The Year and Album Of The Year at the 2004 ECMA awards. He published his first songbook Songs Of Ron Hynes - Volume One in 2005, and released the self-titled CD Ron Hynes in 2006. In the same year (2006) he was presented with a “Lifetime Achievement Award” from St. John's Folk Arts Council.

Sonny's Dream remains his most popular song, a folk classic covered by dozens of bands and singers worldwide. Other Ron Hynes songs have been performed by Murray McLaughlin, Valdy, Christie Moore, Emmylou Harris, John McDermott and countless other artists.

© 2001, Jamie Fitzpatrick

Updated October 2006


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