For the first time in their illustrious careers, two of Canada’s greatest living legends, “Rompin’ Ronnie” Hawkins and Gordon Lightfoot, have come together on a project – and it’s just in time for the holiday season.
“I’ve been trying to get him to [work on something] for forty years,” Hawkins stated at the song’s launch, which was held on Thursday night at the Cambria Gallery in Toronto, a company for which Hawkins is a brand advocate. “But he was too busy!”
The song, “Christmas Must Be Tonight,” written by Robbie Robertson (formerly of The Band), was performed by Hawkins and co-produced by Marty Davis (President and CEO of Cambria) and Lightfoot.
The song came about in a collaborative way. Says Lightfoot, “[Hawkins] was sitting with two songs, trying to get them done, the Robbie tune, “Christmas Must Be Tonight,” and he wanted to do [my song] “The Pony Man”… And we came together to get both songs done at the same time. He lined up the musicians, as he was always so very good at … he has more bands than farmers have hay.”
Lightfoot went on to say of Hawkins’ new number: “It’s a real, good, solid Christmas song.”
When asked what each has to bring to the table when it comes to their new partnership, Hawkins had nothing but compliments for his fellow musician. “We’re a dynamic duo. Gordon can write, he’s the best songwriter in the world … there’s not another writer in the world that’s written as many great stories as Gordon Lightfoot.” He also reflected on the beginnings of his relationship with the now legendary singer/songwriter, when the latter was just fourteen years old. “I used to go see Gordon before he ever wrote a song. He had a touch for telling a story, just like [Johnny] Cash and all the rest … So I used to bring a whole bunch of people up to where he was playing and say, ‘Listen to this kid, he’s going to be big time one of these days.’ And he is.”
As for whether they’ll collaborate again in future, Hawkins – whose miraculous recovery from cancer, for which doctors could offer no medical explanation, made headlines in the early 2000’s – was quick to joke: “If me and Gordon can live long enough,” he quipped. “We’re skatin’ on July ice right now.”
“Wait a minute – you’ve beat that one before, so I think you’re going to beat it again, right?” said KHACHILIFE’s own Ramsin Khachi.
“The devil don’t want us yet,” Hawkins replied with a chuckle.
“Christmas Must Be Tonight” will soon be available on iTunes and can be played by clicking the link below.