Rockabillly icon ‘The Hawk’ Ronnie Hawkins returned to his musical roots last week when he was honoured at his former club in Arkansas.
The 84-year-old music icon, who lives in Peterborough, spent several days in Fayetteville, Ark., where he revisited The Rockwood Club, a popular spot during the 60s and 70s which hosted musicians like Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins. The club has since been turned into a music museum that hosts bands.
During his visit, he was inducted into the Rockwood Hall of Fame, on Aug. 22.
“I’m glad they remembered me,” Hawkins joked Sunday after his flight landed at the Peterborough Airport. “I’ve been gone a long time.”
Hawkins, a native of Huntsville, Ala., is best known for forming the “The Hawks,” a rockabilly band which morphed into “The Band” which went on to back Bob Dylan in the later 1960s.
The Rockwood was a regular spot for Hawkins and his group. Hawkins owned the club from 1961 to 1964, according to the Northwest Arkansa Democrat Gazette. Hawkins later moved to Toronto, where The Hawks became a pioneer in the city’s rock and roll scene.
Hawkins made several appearances during the Fayetteville Roots Festival, including a stop at the public library for a fan meet-and-greet. His appearance on Friday night coincided with performances by longtime friends The Cate Brothers, and Amy Helm, daughter of his friend and former band mate, Levon Helm. He was also recipient of the “Crazy Chester” award, which recognizes individuals who made an impact on music in northwest Arkansas.
“To be back just one more time is wonderful,” Hawkins told the audience after accepting the award. “My legs are gone from chasing too many girls but I’m still catching them. They’re in the walkers!”
“The Hawk” made the trip to Fayetteville with his wife Wanada, son Robin, and a few friends. One last change to turn back the clock, he said.
“Some of them I recognized and some of them I didn’t because it has been a long time — you change in 40 years — a little,” he said. “It was really good.
“It was wonderful going down there but Canada is the promised land so it’s always good to be back.”
WATCH (July 2017): Ronnie Hawkins talks about the music history of his mansion