Various Dancing Alone: The Songs Of William Hawkins

Can’t say the name of this Ottawa-based songwriter/poet was familiar but Hawkins is clearly a revered figure for many in the Canadian folk scene. This double CD features an impressive line-up of Canadian folk singers covering songs written and performed by Hawkins, in various bands in the Ottawa scene of the late ’60s. He has since become a highly lauded poet and these songs definitely have a poetic tinge. Five tracks here were co-written by Bruce Cockburn, who cites Hawkins as a key early inspiration. One of those songs, "The Trains Don’t Run Here Anymore,” is performed by Cockburn and is a highlight. Other veterans featured include Murray McLauchlan, Ian Tamblyn, Sneezy Waters, Brent Titcomb and Bill Stevenson, all featured on two songs each. The "younger” generation of talented vocalists are represented here by Suzie Vinnick, Lynn Miles, Mike Evin, Ana Miura and Kellylee Evans, and all acquit themselves well. Clean instrumentation and production, a lovely package design and eloquent liner notes complete a project that’s clearly a must for the hardcore Canadian folk fan. Hawkins’ recollection of those heady days, "Memories Memorial,” is included as well: "With mini skirts, worn by young flirts, who danced their blues away. Oh, yes, fuck, oh, dear, I remember those days.” (True North)