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Ron Hynes at The Fat Cat review

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Ron Hynes at The Fat Cat review

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Ron Hynes could not be said to have a fan base so much as a people, a community, starting with the folks who have been watching him 20 years and more, extending in a broader sense to the whole people of Newfoundland.

I had the pleasure of catching a now-rare Newfoundland show at the Fat Cat on George, which was packed with eager fans an hour before he even got onstage. Leaning against a wall near the stage to take a few notes before the show, I noticed I was standing next to portrait of Ron that was as tall as I am. This was clearly his turf since way back.

I spoke with some longtime fans and they put the whole thing in context for me:

“Ron is a poet.”

“You’re gonna want to put away your little book…girls will be dancin’.”

“It’s not just the music, it’s more than that. There’s a whole Ron culture here. Ron is Newfoundland.”

Ron steps onstage to much applause and introduces himself. As soon as the band starts, the crowd lights up, three couples dancing in the first 20 seconds, followed shortly by the rest of the crowd. After the first song, he says “Alright, everybody’s having too good a time, way too early…” Ron is crooning with a smile on his face, moving with the crowd but still focused, into it, a professional at heart.

After the first of three sets, Ron took the time to tell me the names of the band: Billy Sutton on the bass, Paul Kinsman on keys, Paul “Boomer” Stamp of the Wonderful Grand Band on drums, and Glenn Simmons on guitar. They sounded killer, giving the impression of a dedicated group of seasoned musicians.

The show went on for three sets, maintaining high energy but taking us through a range of emotions , from love songs, to lively anthems, to slow, sad ballads, each song telling a story, not a cliché, but a moment in a real person’s life. This quality of honesty combined with a dedication to entertaining others is what makes Ron a powerful performer, especially here in Newfoundland, where his music is mixed with the memories of hundreds of thousands of people’s lives.

By: Orion Batten
Photo by Jai Me

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