Spinney Brothers recognized by local MLA

The Spinney Brothers of Nova Scotia got a nice surprise when their local Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA), Keith Irving, wrote a letter of congratulations for their success in the bluegrass industry, and read it aloud to the House of Commons.

This honor came after the brothers, Rick and Allan, had retired from touring following seven successful years entertaining bluegrass audiences all over the US and Canada. The pair had started performing together in 1991, and made the shift to a full-time professional music career in 2010. Enormous success came their way, in the studio and on stage, as their brother duet singing style was welcomed across North America in the bluegrass market.

But the strains of the traveling life broke through in 2017, and the Spinneys decided that seeing their families and watching their children grow up took precedence over their love for the music, and the act was disbanded. So the brothers were delighted to receive recognition in the Nova Scotia House.

Irving’s proclamation reads as follows:

Statement By Members, Keith Irving, MLA Kings South
Nova Scotia House of Assembly

I rise today to recognize the extraordinary career of local bluegrass legends the Spinney  Brothers. Rick and Allan Spinney, together with equally talented band mates, have enjoyed tremendous success as professional musicians for over 25 years. Their exceptional musicianship and deep commitment to the traditional bluegrass sound has delighted audiences in every Canadian province and in 40 US states. They have won multiple Canadian bluegrass awards and were inducted into the Nova Scotia Country Music Hall of Fame in 2009.

On October 15, 2017, The Spinney Brothers played their farewell concert at Horton High School on Greenwich Road in Wolfville, an event that was appropriately billed as “the end of an era.” I ask members of the Nova Scotia House of Assembly to join me in congratulating the Spinney Brothers for their fantastic success in the music business and in thanking them for the great joy that their music has brought to so many over the years.

Since leaving the road the Spinneys have been reconnecting with their families, and embarking on new careers. Rick shared a few thoughts about the past year, and the honor from their MLA.

“It is a great honor to be recognized by your work and accomplishments, especially in a field that carries so much passion. Allan and I were so proud ro carry the Nova Scotia and Canadian flag in representing our province and country, but equally as proud to carry the tradition of performing and representing bluegrass music both North and South of the Border. We always strove to be professional, and treat all aspects of the music with respect, from dealing with promoters, media, fans, and even in selection of songs.

The road is a double edged sword; I loved it and hated it. I personally hated leaving my family, but loved to perform and meet people, create friends, and share my passion for music. I believe my brother felt similarly.

We are now enjoying some ‘down time’ with our families. I am currently beginning a new path in the heavy truck industry as a parts sales rep for a company called Mackay’s Truck Center. I’m still traveling, but I’m home every night. Allan is working at a beautiful local vineyard called Lightfoot & Wolfville. I am still singing and playing some with my wife, Machaela, who has an amazing voice and stage presence. We are currently doing some gigs as a duet couple.

The great thing is that although we may have left the music on the road, the music will never leave us, nor will the great people that surround bluegrass and Gospel music.”

Let’s hope we hear more music from this talented family down the road.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.