Ron Hawkins – Straightjacket Love

Ron Hawkins is one prolific mofo. Since 1991, the man has pumped out well over a dozen albums, EPs and singles as a member of seminal Canadian alt-rockers Lowest of the Low, at the helm of his own band the Rusty Nails and as a solo artist. Straightjacket Love is his latest effort, and it follows in the vein of 2009’s 10 Kinds of Lonely.
Fans of Hawkins will find Ron returning to themes of alcoholism, star-crossed love and down-and-out struggle and strife. At best – on cuts like “The Sickness” and “Waitin’ on Something that’s Already Here” – Hawkins finds new ways to explore these themes with, for the most part, stripped down arrangements and rootsy twang. At worst, a few moments – “Kill the Lights,” to pick on one track – come close to kicking the last out of the same can he’s been kicking at since Shakespeare My Butt…
I’ve been a fan of Hawkins’ writing and music for over a decade now, which is half as long as he’s been releasing the stuff. I absolutely love Lowest of the Low’s first 2 LPs, though I’ve never really warmed up to much of Hawkins work with the Rusty Nails or the latter day Low output. However, I’ve had Straightjacket Love on repeat for weeks now, and while a few tracks on the album are forgettable, the bulk of the disc is solid gold. (Independent, Sheldon Birnie

Review: Ron Hawkins – 10 Kinds of Lonely

10 Kinds of Lonely

RonHawkins_10KindsOfLonelySomehow it seems unfair and hardly proper that Toronto’s Ron Hawkins remains a rather obscure character in Canadian music. Any self-realized radio DJ with a decent library of tunes and a need to fill a Canadian content quota should be a little familiar with his “other” band, the Lowest of the Low, or his fine Ron Hawkins and the Rusty Nails albums. His latest solo ten-tracker tips the goodness scales well in his favour again—Ron Hawkins can’t and shouldn’t be denied. Again, his striking, observational lyrics are in full flow here. Sad sacks and street corner poets, emotional has-beens and people scraping through life’s dirt are all here and oh, so achingly familiar. Hawkins’ hewn vocals add an earthy dimension to whatever he sings and his emotional delivery will keep you coming back for another listen to hear if the song has turned out any happier since the last time you tuned in. A must for fans and a positively enticing listen for anyone looking for honesty, integrity and grit in their musical diet. (Independent, Jeff Monk