Ron Hynes,
Get Back Change
(Borealis, 2003)

Ron Hynes' latest CD Get Back Change is a fine collection of heartfelt country-folk songs from one of Canada's best-loved songwriters.

In a voice ringing with authenticity and emotion, Hynes tells stories of real lives. Although many songs on the disc seem autobiographical, they illuminate universal themes. At times, his traditionally styled country melodies seem almost too simple -- even plain -- but they provide a solid framework for Hynes' well-crafted lyrics and his emotive performance.

Best-known for the song "Sonny's Dream," which has been recorded by 30 artists including Emmylou Harris, Hynes has been in the music industry for more than 20 years but, though well-known in Canadian roots music circles, is hardly a household name. The disappointment and struggle of the artist's life is evident in the song "Record Man" ("So you hit a home run on your first time out/And the season is yours for a song/ But you can derail on the comeback trail/where the road is rocky and long"). A consummate lyricist, he sums up the ache of lost love in "Someday" with the kind of grace that makes songwriting look easy ("Someday you'll wish you could hold me/Like I wish I could hold you dear/Someday you'll want me to want you/Darlin' don't I wish someday was here").

Get Back Change was produced by Paul Mills (who doubles as guitarist "Curly Boy Stubbs" in the band). He creates a straightforward country-folk mood, supported by some of Canada's strongest roots players including David Woodhead (electric bass), Dennis Pendrith (acoustic bass), Tom Leighton (accordion and piano) and Don Reed (fiddle) with harmony vocals from Sylvia Tyson, Jenny Whiteley and Cindy Church.

All of the songs on Get Back Change are coloured by loss and some reveal a shade of bitterness that seems to creep in despite Hynes' struggle against it. In "My Old Man," he writes "I been drinkin' a bit/should prob'ly quit/this won't be no Top 40 hit." Many listeners (especially those in middle age and beyond) will identify with the feeling that their lives have fallen short of expectations, that they're not getting quite as much back as they thought they would. Listening to Hynes you can't help but root for him -- and hope he finds the positive change in his life that he's looking for.

- Rambles
written by Joy McKay
published 22 May 2004

[ visit the artist's website ]

Buy it from