News Column

Nova Scotia band brings bluegrass south

September 12, 2013


Sept. 12--MORRISONVILLE -- The Spinney Brothers are the fourth and last act to take the stage today, the first day of the 2nd Annual Plattsburgh Bluegrass Festival at the Clinton County Fairgrounds.

The band features Allan Spinney (guitars and vocals), Rick Spinney, (banjo and vocals), Gary Dalrymple (mandolin) and Adam Pye (upright bass).

The Nova Scotians had a 15.28-hour trek down to Morrisonville where they will meet up with friends and fellow musicians including the Washington County Line Band, Dave Nichols & Spare Change and Remington Ryde.

This year marks Dalrymple's 21st year with the Spinney Brothers, whom he met at bluegrass festival in Black Rock.

"It's in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia, the region the Spinney Brothers are from," Dalrymple said. "Bluegrass music is alive and well in Nova Scotia. Often common at big festivals music on the weekends, people camp and take RVs to stay on-site. After the stage shows, people get their instruments out at the campsites at jam sessions that last until two o'clock in the morning."

It was at one such jam session Dalrymple found himself in the zone with the Spinneys.

"We found we liked a lot of the same music and had a very social evening of playing music together until daylight. In short order, if there was a chance to pursue it in a band format we hoped it would take place. That was the summer of 1991. A few months later, I was in the band."

The band was semi-professional before pursuing it as a full-time livelihood in 2010 after 17 years of performing across North America.

"Since that time it has meant a lot more travel coast to coast in both Canada and the United States," Dalrymple said. "We've done a bluegrass cruise and have been in Mexico, Key West and Bahamas. When music becomes your livelihood, it means you have to do a lot more traveling. It's been a blessing for us to pursue so many more opportunities and examine various new points and get before new crowds and new regions and being well received."

It takes chutzpah to play indigenous Lower 48 music and bring it to its source.

"We first decided on paper we thought this would work. Most of our work opportunities are in the United States. We've been received continuously, and without exception, with open arms. So, it sure is a good feeling. This coming weekend is no exception."

Friday's rotation comprises Smokey Greene, John Renne Band, Atkinson Family Band and Remington Ryde.

Saturday starts off with the Warren County Ramblers followed by Jesse Alexander Band, Dave Nichols & Spare Change and the Gibson Brothers. On Sunday morning there will be a service and gospel sing-along with Billy Lee Cox and Remington Ryde.

Dalrymple met the Gibsons during the Spinney Brothers' first appearance at an American bluegrass festival, the Record Family Bluegrass Festival, in 1993.

"It was in South Paris, Maine. It's not a very big dot on the map. We met them, and we've been great friends with them every since. We call them the Other Brothers Bluegrass Band. That's what we love about the music. There's so much camaraderie with the music with fans and other musicians in the bands. Eric and Leigh Gibson, we continue to meet up with them. It's like a family reunion every time. We've been with them in North Carolina, Maine, Ohio, just a number of places.

"We will do it again this weekend in Plattsburgh. I think they're following us around. I think that is what is going on."

The Spinney Brothers tour in support of their most recent release, "No Borders," recorded at Mountain Fever Record Company in Virginia. There's an ongoing romance between Canadians and the Blue Ridge Mountains.

"The title is indicative of what the music means to us," Dalrymple said. "Music is meant to knock down borders music being a universal language to bring people together. What bluegrass music means to us? It's an international music. It's not just in Canada and the United States. There's no border to bluegrass music."

In 2014, the Spinney Brothers make their European debut.

In a few weeks, the Gibsons and Spinneys meet up again at the 2013 International Bluegrass Music Association's annual conference and convention in Raleigh, N.C.

"The jewel of the week is the annual Awards Show," Dalrymple said. "We're nominated for Emerging Artists of the Year. Things are going good for the Spinney Brothers Band."

Email Robin

IF YOU GO WHAT: 2nd Annual Plattsburgh Bluegrass Festival WHEN: Thursday through Sunday WHERE: Clinton County Fairgrounds, Grandstands, Morrisonville. LINEUPTODAY 1, 6 p.m. Washington County Line 2, 7 p.m. Dave Nichols & Spare Change 3, 8 p.m. Remington Ryde 4, 9 p.m. The Spinney Brothers FRIDAY 1, 6 p.m. Smokey Greene 2, 7 p.m. John Renne Band 3, 8 p.m. Atkinson Family Band 4, 9 p.m. Remington Ryde SATURDAY 1, 6 p.m. Warren County Ramblers 2, 7 p.m. Jesse Alexander Band 3, 8 p.m. Dave Nichols & Spare Change 4, 9 p.m. The Gibson Brothers WORKSHOPS (Building 16) 2 p.m. Banjo Workshop w/ Billy Lee Cox of Remington Ryde 6 p.m. Bass Workshop w/Richard Egolf 7 p.m. Songwriting Workshop w/Eric & Lee Gibson TBA Mandolin Workshop w/Dave Nichols SUNDAY 9 a.m. Sunday service and gospel sing-along with Billy Lee Cox and music by Remington Ryde Workshops: ADMISSION: Three-day pass $50 per person. Children 12 and under free. Day Tickets: $10 Thursday, $20 Friday and $25 Saturday. Camping $25 extra per night. Gates open at 8 a.m. Generatros wlecome. Dogs welcome, on leash, at your camp site only. WiFi: $5 per day or $10 for weekend. Field pickin' is encouraged 24 hours a day. PHONE: 561-7998 E-MAIL:


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