19-Year Old Son for Sale. Cheap!

overhead view of the place Ronnie Hayward Trio
The SouthHill Candy Shop
Vancouver, B.C.
Saturday, December 7, 1996

Review by Gary 'pigboy' Swartz
Photography by Suzanne Goodwin

It was a sort of catch all evening: check out a venue, do a review and sneak in some long overdue family service. You see, while other dads were teaching their sons the skills of hockey and baseball (boring), I was patiently, most patiently, waiting (and practicing diligently) until my eldest grew old enough for cold beer, live music and smoke-filled clubs. If two out of three ain't bad, after 19 years (plus the few months he spent exploring dance and strip clubs with his misguided pals), have a cigar, I'm a father!

the Ronnie Hayward Trio I say two out of three because the SouthHill isn't smoke-filled (we know better than that nowadays, don't we?) and it isn't exactly a club. Café or bistro might be a more appropriate description. But cozy, comfortable and relaxing. (You go to the counter to order -- no wait-person interrupting conversations and pressing you to consume vast quantities. Great for bonding with friends, lovers or, I might add, family.) The beer is good, and affordable, and there's not even a cover. The music is definitely live. And, to my mind, alternative in the truest sense of the word. Folk. Jazz. Bluegrass. Rockabilly.

Which is why I officially was there. Acoustic bassist/vocalist Ronnie Hayward, together with electric guitarist Darwin Fisher and rhythm guitarist Pete Turland, the Ronnie Hayward Trio, are making a bit of a name for themselves around town in rockabilly circles -- and in Europe as well. It's easy to see why. Hayward looks the part. Lanky with a haircut by someone who thinks unisex is a phone company.

Ronnie Hayward More importantly, Hayward sounds the part, offering up a good mix of covers and originals -- songs in that long lost, innocent, minimalist 50's vein. Tunes with titles like "Brand New Red High Heels" or "Wild About You Baby" and lyrics like "You can have her, I don't want her, She didn't love me anyway" or "Asked for a drink of water, She brought me gasoline." Ah, true love. All rendered in a voice with an edgy quality closely reminiscent of Hank Williams -- Senior, not Junior. Proving, if nothing more, although it is more, that, trace your musical roots back far enough -- 80's, 60's, 40's, 20's -- and we all swung out of the same musical family tree.

Except maybe junior and me. The SouthHill and other similar off-the-beaten-track live music venues are now something he and his friends, emphasis on friends, will begin to explore. Beer and similar beverages were never in dispute. Less-than-mainstream kinds of music are even up for grabs. Like maybe some folk, blues or bluegrass. But rockabilly, even good rockabilly, is just a bit too...

So much for the joys of parenting. I'm thinking of adopting. Hell, I may even start smoking again. And if I can convince the SouthHill to toss a bit of sawdust on the floor... They don't call them the good old days for nothing. Just ask Ronnie Hayward.

First published in Drop-D Magazine on December 20, 1996

Index | Search | E-mail | Info | Copyright

Considering copying some of the images from this story?
Please read this first. Thanks.