RH Positive Music unveiled a piece of Toronto music history with the CD release for Ron Hedland's "Someday..." on October 4th 1999 at the Silver Dollar Room.
The fifteen song compilation revisits two decades of recordings by the late Ron Hedland, a fixture of the Toronto music scene for over 30 years, and expresses a key essence of Southern roots music - that soulful search when someday could be today.
On Sunday, December 13th, 1998 over four hundred friends of the slain musician met at Toronto's Brunswick House to acknowledge and celebrate his music and life. The generous contributions that evening allowed this retrospective.
©1999 All rights reserved.
|Reviews of "Someday..."|
Review by J.P. Lepage,|
Blues Scene Quarterly, Vol. 3 No. 3, Winter 2000.
Interesting, highly personal songs with great arrangements performed by skilled musicians are what you'll find on Someday... Culled from demo sessions dating between 1973-'78 and 1992-'93, these songs don't reflect blues in the usual musical context of that word, but rather, in their emotion and naked honesty. Hedland sings, plays drums and keyboard throughout, and is accompanied by a variety of instruments. Again, all the performances, as well as the production are very fine. The press that accompanied this disc suggested comparison to Ray Charles, and the big band arrangement of the opening title track subscribes to that notion, but I couldn't help but be reminded more of Blood Sweat & Tears. Perhaps that's because eight of the fifteen songs are from the earlier period and have decidedly 70's Soul/Pop tilt. Whatever the case, the music on this disc is quite varied and offers a revealing look into the troubled life of Hedland, who wrote or co-wrote all but three of the tracks. Standouts on the record include the funky "Mashed Potatoes & Butterscotch Socks", the Santana-ish "Dabblin' With Addiction", and the jazzy ballads "Someday" and "Bille". Ron Hedland was a respected multi-instrumentalist and songwriter on the Toronto music scene from the early seventies until his tragic death in late 1998. Raised in Norfolk, Virginia, Hedland played up and down the east coast of the United States before moving to Toronto. Once he settled there, he used to amaze audiences with his great voice and his unique ability to sing while simultaneously playing drums and keyboards. He was considered an idealist, refusing to compromise his originality for the sake of popularity in the changing music scene. Sadly, his unique voice was silenced when he was beaten to death outside of his home last November.
In a memorial for Ron Hedland held in Toronto last December, over four hundred musicians and friends gathered to raise the funds needed to complete this disc. Proceeds from the sale of Someday... will go to R H Positive Music, a company set up to benefit Hedland's daughter and grandson.
Review by John Valenteyn,
Toronto Blues Society, Mapleblues, Vol. 15, No. 10, October 1999.
Late last November, Ron Hedland was found dead just outside his home in the Beach. The case was deemed a homicide but nothing so far has come of the investigation. A benefit was held to raise funds to put out a retrospective CD of the music he had been recording over the years. That benefit was organized by Gary Kendall and Fraser Finlayson and they have now shepherded the CD to a store near you. Someday, after one of Hedland's finest songs, contains fifteen of more than a hundred that were discovered. The biggest group is all but one from a seven song cassette that Hedland managed to make available. These later recordings were also the easiest to transfer. Others dated from as early as 1973 and required a great deal of work and luck. Andy Krehm at Silverbirch Productions handled the mastering and did a fine job. Southern roots music is the description used on the release sheet and Ray Charles is the obvious influence so there certianly is enough blues here, but it is clear that Hedland was a master songwriter no matter the style. As the producer (or co-producer) and arranger as well, he certainly knew what he was after and was prepared to spend the time and money to achieve it. Many of the finest players in the city are a part of these songs. In addition, of course, hedland played keyboards, drums and handled the vocals. The inescapable thought while listening to the album is what it would have been like had these songs received their due when he was alive. I suppose the words and music of "Someday" will have to do. All proceeds form Someday and, hopefully, the songs, go to R H Positive Music to benefit his daughter Cairn and her son Travis Hedland. A CD Release and Listening Party will precede Danny Marks' Stormy Monday Jam on October 4th and the album will be available there as well. You can also visit the website www.rhpositvemusic.com.
Review by Ron Hodge,
T.O.NITE, Wed., Sept. 29th, 1999.
Ron Hedland retrospective album unveils Mon. Oct 4 at Silver Dollar
A piece of Toronto music history is about to be unveiled. Someday... features material recorded by the late Ron Hedland, who was a fixture on the Toronto music scene for over thirty years.
A 15-track CD of Hedland's music will be unveiled at the Silver Dollar (486 Spadina) on Monday, October 4th between 7:30 and 9:30. There os no admission charge for the event and proceeds from sales of the discs will go to R H Positive Music, a company set up to benefit Hedland's daughter Cairn and his grandson Travis.
Ron Hedland was murdered in late November, 1998, ouside his home in the Beach. Police are still looking for the killer.
Hedland moved from Virginia to Toronto in the 1970's. A soulful vocalist and songwriter, he was also a talented drummer and keyboard player, who often amazed audiences by singing and playing both instruments simultaneously.
His career included leading RH Positive, opening for Taj Mahal and Jerry Jeff walker, and film and radio work. Compiled by Toronto musicians Gary Kendall and Fraser Finlayson, Someday... features tracks from recording sessions that span two decades of Hedland's career.
Accompanying Hedland's powerhouse vocals and stellar keyboard and percussion work are such Toronto Blues and Jazz musicians as guitarists Bill Bridges andThom Cosgrove, bassist Lionel Williams, trumpet player Larry Cramer, pianist Bill King, and drummer Vito Rezza, to name only a few. Sessions were produced by Dave Mayle (1973-1978), Jono Grant (1992), and David Harcourt (1993).
Most aspects of the recording, including production, mastering, design and executive production, were donated. A memorial held at the Brunswick House on December 13th, 1998 raised the funds needed to complete the project.