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COLUMN: Orillia singer, fuelled by faith, just keeps on rockin'

Orillia's Bob Hawkins picked up a guitar for the first time when he was 10 and he has been writing and recording songs ever since
Bob Hawkins
Bob Hawkins, a local Christian country/rock musician, is well known locally and is working on a new album.

With the ending of lockdowns and COVID restrictions, musicians can finally come out of hiding and go back to making a living and giving us joy. Many local musicians are announcing their re-entry with new music, including Danny Webster (Livers), Zain Campbell, Zachary Lucky, and others, including local Christian Country/Rock musician, Bob Hawkins.

I chatted with Hawkins recently about his new album, his musical journey, and what makes him tick. Here is the interview, below.

OM: Can you give me a bit of a CV regarding the music you have written/produced/your history in music?

BH: It was in 1964 when I first saw The Beatles and they were the influence for me picking up the guitar. I wanted to be like them (who wouldn't?). I picked up a guitar at the age of 10 and wrote my first song. I listened to my mother’s records on a big console wooden record player. I sat in front of one speaker and found out there was such as thing as stereo.

Around the age of 17, I formed my first band. Through various bands and tours and gigs in 2001, The Bob Hawkins Band was formed. Over the years I have written about 120 songs, recorded four CDs and a few singles.

I was starting to write love songs in a general way which then turned to love songs through the lens of faith. This led to doing fundraisers and worship services.

Ron Hill and Pete Sanderson have been a part of many of the projects and have been a tremendous help over the years. We have played together since we were 19 years old.

OM: What are you currently working on? Shows, releases, performances?

BH: I now do worship services with music online. I plan to return to live services in the near future. I just released my CD, Perfect Simplicity, in February and a new video for Save My Soul. Save My Soul - The Bob Hawkins Band.

There will be an animated video for another song as well, which will be released in the near future.  

OM: Can you tell us about any future plans?

BH: I’m currently recording a new album and want to expand my audience through livestream and more videos, putting many more on YouTube.

OM: What drives you to make your music and share it with the world?

BH: My faith journey is what drives me to write and make the music I do, in the hopes that it will encourage and help other people.

Bob Hawkins’ CDs are available by contacting bobhawkinsband@yahoo.ca. To check out more of Hawkins’ videos, go here. Enjoy!

The Orillia Concert Association (OCA) has another concert coming up on March 27, featuring The Hogtown Brass. Known for their unique arrangements and new compositions, the group is composed of Tristan Tye and Michael Barth on Trumpet, Jay Austin on French Horn, Brayden Friesen on Trombone, and Ian Feenstra on Tuba.

For the first time, the OCA is offering individual tickets to a show, at $40 a ticket. The show is Sunday March 27 at 2:30 p.m. and you can grab your tickets here. I am seriously tempted by this one, I am sure it will be a lot of fun!

Don’t forget Sean McCann from Great Big Sea is also performing at the Orillia Opera House St. Paddy’s Day, March 17, for tickets go here.

And, Storytelling Orillia’s collaboration with Mark Douglas in honour of World Storytelling Day is coming up this March 20. For more information and tickets, click here.

The Orillia Museum of Art and History (OMAH) has a new exhibit open, Colour with a U, a travelling exhibition of 42 contemporary quilt and fibre works by members of the Studio Art Quilt Associates. There are also lots of March break activities still happening at OMAH, and at the Orillia Public Library; check their Facebook pages for details.

The Peter Street Arts District is having an Equinox Art Hop this Saturday March 19 from 1 to 3 p.m. Not only can you come out and see all the art the prolific artists of our area are producing, but you can enter to win a prize pack, when you make an art purchase. Nip into Hibernation Arts on Peter Street for all the details.

Also on Saturday, but from 5 to 8 p.m., you can hear SAMMY, the 2021 Orillia Regional Arts and Heritage Award’s Emerging Artist, at Quayle’s Brewery. No reservations, first come first served, so get over there and check out her music, you will love it.

Coming up is Tartan Day, April 6, also at Quayle’s Brewery, a fundraiser for the Orillia Scottish Festival, featuring beer, food, trivia, and live music by Sean Patrick. Grab your tickets here.

And finally, a reminder that Mariposa Arts Theatre members are hard at work rehearsing the play, Steel Magnolias, which is being performed at the Orillia Opera House towards the end of April. Tickets are on sale now, and this will likely sell out, so grab your tickets today, here.

Hope you are having a great March break! If you have arts news send it to annaproctor111@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon to be included.