Album: A Good Dog Is Lost
Tracks : 11
A Good Dog Is Lost
( A Collection of Ron Hynes Songs )
This album is a musical labour of love by Ontario based singer/songwriter Ken Tizzard, covering songs written by fellow Newfoundlander Ron Hynes. The most difficult part of the whole project must have been picking eleven songs from the massive catalogue left by the great man.
Ken toured with Hynes in 2013 when they played 12 dates in their native Newfoundland and this project has its roots there. The songs are sensitively handled with bass from Ken Grant, drums from Steve Dagg, banjo, mandolin and fiddle from Luke Mercier and guitar from Ken Kelley plus guest vocals from Amelia Curran on St John’s Waltz (which also features accordion from Paul Kinsman) and from Ken’s daughters Caitlyn and Cassidy on Sonny’s Dream.
The album opens with For the USA which tells of workers heading away from Newfoundland in search of work elsewhere. A similar theme is present on Boy From Old Perlican which has a laid back, jazzy feel but with a vocal that wrings the emotion from the lyric. That theme is also present in the gorgeous No Change in Me, the only track on the album which was a co-write with Hynes teaming up with another Canadian song-writing great, Murray McLauchlan. The guitar work is beautiful and it and it is lyrically emotive. “You can’t live for free: You can’t eat the air, you can’t drink the sea”
1962 reminisces about times gone by that will never return while the stark emotion of My Father’s Ghost is carried along with some fine guitar and fiddle work. House (a favourite of Ken’s wife Alison) is another tale of days gone by and is done in a fine country style. Man of 1000 Songs is another country-style classic and is based on the version done live by Hynes rather than the more upbeat recorded version. Judgement is a song that Ken used to play with his band Bad Intent and it is given the band treatment here. The lyric once again shines through with the heartfelt line “It’s better to be famous for the wrong I’ve done tonight than to be nobody all my life” being particularly poignant. The title track, A Good Dog is Lost is another song that tells a similarly downbeat tale and has the Hynes knack of sounding simple while it is actually a quite a complex melody.
That leaves probably Ron Hynes two most well-known songs and they are both performed beautifully here. St John’s Waltz, with Amelia Curran’s smoky vocals and Paul Kinsman’s accordion added to the mix, is just an excellent piece of music and one of the most famous Newfoundland songs. Ken’s advocacy of Ron Hynes songs is admirable and he says “People should know who he is and that’s why I wanted to make this record” That brings us to Sonny’s Dream, one of my favourite songs and one I have performed on innumerable occasions. I am sorry to report that I used to introduce it as a Christy Moore song that I learned from the singing of Mary Black but I am glad to say that Ron Hynes will get the much deserved credit in the future. The version on this album is simply sublime. The musical backing is unobtrusive and the vocal carries the story perfectly with the gorgeous harmonies by Caitlyn and Cassidy adding the finishing touches to a perfect tribute to the genius of Ron Hynes.
Ken called this project a labour of love and the love certainly shines through on these sensitive and well-planned covers. Hynes lyrics are things of beauty and Ken Tizzard has done a very good job of interpreting them and giving them his own twist. A Good Dog is Lost is a fine album and should ensure that the song-writing of Ron Hynes gets the respect it undoubtedly deserves.