Ron Hawkins has long been revered as one of Canada’s greatest contemporary singer-songwriters. Prolific as he is, Ron follows up his Feb. 2015 release of Garden Songs, with SPIT SPUTTER & SPARKLE, continuing to exemplify his skills with a word, a hook, a riff and a melody to display some of his finest work to date. Slated for a March 25th, 2016 release via Pheromone Recordings, the album features 11 new originals, including the first single, Beautiful Girl.
The new album was primarily recorded at Ron’s 55 Below home studio with Ron taking care of all vocals and instrumentation. Additional production, engineering and mixing was handled by Joe Dunphy at Toronto’s Revolution Studios and includes drummers Pat Steward and Jody Brumell as well as string and horn sections (arranged by Ron) on several songs. Extensive touring starts on release day with two nights at Toronto’s Lee’s Palace, followed by a Western Canadian swing beginning the following week.
As lead singer/multi-instrumentalist and main songwriter of Canada’s legendary Lowest of the Low, Ron Hawkins has enjoyed many accolades through the years:
In 1996, 2000 and again in 2005, Chart Magazine honoured the group’s 1991 debut album, Shakespeare My Butt, with spots in the top 10 of the Top 100 Canadian Albums of All Time. In 2000 and once again in 2015, Hawkins was voted Songwriter of the Year by NOW Magazine’s reader’s poll. Also in 2000, Ron received Toronto station 102.1 The Edge’s Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2008 The Lowest of the Low was inducted into the Canadian Indie Rock Hall of Fame and awarded gold records for Shakespeare My Butt.
Over the years, Ron has written and released three additional LOTL albums, five solo discs, three records with his band The Rusty Nails, and in November 2012, Ron and The Do Good Assassins released the double disc Rome. Adding them all up, Spit Sputter and Sparkle is Ron’s 15th album of original material.
“My little home studio is only nine feet by nine feet but it’s packed with toys and musical goodies. It’s a bit like going down the rabbit hole.” Ron continues; “I spent the better part of a year down that rabbit hole and when I came out the other side Spit Sputter & Sparkle was born. This album is the gutter, it’s the noise, it’s the glass on the sidewalk and the stars above your head. It’s all the blur and speed of living in the city in the 21st century.”
SPIT SPUTTER & SPARKLE is due to lift Ron onto the musical pedestal he has clearly earned.
Winnipeg Free Press
“…the allure of these songs lies in Ron’s lyrics and conversational, observational storytelling style. Every song harbours a memorable line or three, and his narrators are middle-aged romantics who pine for youth and loves lost and remembered. I get these visions in my head and I go downtown and look for you, is a typical lament, while acknowledgement of what happens when the words you never should say meet the things you can never take back will be an evocation of time and place for many. Producer Joe Dunphy and the DGA do a splendid job of augmenting Hawkins’ tales, with strings, subtle horns, tasteful guitar all bringing colour to the palette without making it muddy, ponderous or overbearing. When Garden Songs is done, as it is all too quickly, you’ll find yourself playing it again to find out what else it might reveal. “ ~ John Kendle
Toronto/Winnipeg/Ottawa/Edmonton/Calgary Sun-London Free Press-24 Hours-Vancouver
“Armed with a sheaf of the Lowest of the Low leader’s bittersweet odes, lovelorn laments and sharp-witted ballads, they cut this disc live off the studio floor and mixed it all within a week. And why not? With songs and performances this magnificently magnetic, anything more would have been a waste of time.”
~ Daryl Sterdan
“Here he is with his other ace band, offering a live-off-the-floor collection of ballads and mid-tempo material. It’s what Hawkins does best, where his lyrics are given space to sink in, where the richness of his voice really shines, where cellos and accordions bring out more in his material than loud electric guitars do. The new material shows that he’s certainly not in a slump.”
~ Michael Barclay
Wildy’s World/Amherst, NY
“The album was recorded over the course of one week, and highlights Hawkins’ brilliance as a songwriter and lyricist. It also shows off The Do Good Assassins ability to bring those songs to life….listeners newly introduced to Hawkins will be stunned by what they hear. Garden Songs is a must have album. I’ll give it 5 stars, without reservation.”
“The songs on this album were arranged and recorded in the space of a week, recorded live; it shows in the confident and laid-back energy of the band…an excellent ensemble. The intimacy of this album feels real, too; it’s a visit to Ron Hawkins’ musical neighbourhood.”