Interview with The Spinney Brothers

Interview
with The Spinney Brothers

Lamitschka:  Music has many new fans throughout Europe who
may be hearing about you for the first time. How would you describe
yourself and the music you play to someone who has never seen or
heard you?

The Spinney Brothers  The Spinney
Brothers are a traditional based, band that focuses on brother duet
harmony. A high energy show that covers old traditional, classic
country and original music done in a traditional style. We try to
Entertain as much as perform.

Lamitschka:  How was the last year for you? What were your
highlights?

The Spinney Brothers This past year was
incredible. With our first record release on the Mountain Fever
Record, we received record numbers of plays on various radio
broadcasts, a taping of Track by Track with Kyle Cantrell on Sirius
XM’s Bluegrass Junction as well as a studio live show with Kyle on
the same radio station. We watched our song Memories climb the
Bluegrass charts to the number 1 spot. Along with a greater number
of sold out concerts and lots of momentum.
 

Lamitschka:  What is your latest CD and how’s it doing?

The Spinney Brothers  Memories is the
name of the latest CD on the Mountain Fever Records label out of
Virginia. The CD has done extremely well and sits at the number 3
spot on the bluegrass charts.

Lamitschka:  How did you choose the title for the CD? 
Is there a story behind the name?

The Spinney Brothers  Memories is the
title, which is one of the songs. The song speaks about the simple
things in life, the way life use to be, when you could trust your
neighbor and the smell of good cooking filled the house. It fits
with the values of the traditional music and fans.

Lamitschka:  Do you write the songs yourself? If not, how do
you go about finding the songs for your CD?

The Spinney Brothers  We have written
lots of songs that we have recorded. This CD has only one song
written by the band. Myself, Rick Spinney, wrote One Day Late and a
Dollar Short. We search long and hard for songs to record, songs
that fit our style so that they don’t have to be altered too much.

Lamitschka:  Please tell us about the songs on your album
(influences, etc).

The Spinney Brothers Songs on this album
come from some great song writers. Carl Jackson, David Cooper, Dave
Lindsey, and Marshal Warwick to name a few. Marshal Warwick has
penned some great songs, and we have recorded a number of them in the
past. He is our biggest song writing hero on this album. One of the
best true Traditional Bluegrass songs done in the Jimmy Martin style
is a song co-written by Carl Jackson called Makin‘ a Killin‘.
The gospel flavor comes from the very talented David Cooper, a song
called The Old Roman Soldier.

Lamitschka:  What is the difference between your last CD and
your current one?

The Spinney Brothers  In my opinion,
not a whole lot, the label has given us a great deal of exposer as
has the radio airplay, but I feel that if you liten to our other
albums, you will find that we try to pay attention to all the
details. Adding fiddle on all of our recordings gives the listener a
true sense of how we want the music to sound and feel.

Lamitschka:  Your current single is being played by radio.
What do you feel is special about this song that makes people want to
hear it?

The Spinney Brothers  Again, this song
really resonates with the typical listening audience. Good times
that are past, times when you knew your neighbor and he was your
friend.

Lamitschka:  What will your next single be?

The Spinney Brothers  We are set to
release a new record with a single written by Brink Brinkman called
Grandpa’s Way of Life.

Lamitschka:  What kind of songs do you like to record the
most?

The Spinney Brothers  We like songs
that have feeling and that mean something to people. Saying that, it
is important to include different songs for a record, not everyone
likes the same material. We enjoy up tempo songs as well.

Lamitschka:  You did a duet with Ralph Stanley II. How did
that happen to come about?

The Spinney Brothers  We have Ralph
Stanley II on the new CD set to be released in April, he will join us
on a song that Ms. Dixie Hall wrote that talks about his uncle Carter
Stanley. We thought it fit really well and think that songs like
this deserve the opportunity to be shared and appreciated by many.

Lamitschka:  What is your favorite song among all the songs
you have recorded and what’s the story behind it?

The Spinney Brothers  A song we
recorded called If I Were Your Brother, written by Ryan Roberts and
Roger Stone. It talks about how all these things I would do for you
if you were my brother. Having my brother beside me every night on
stage means so much to me. We have a bond that is shared by few.

Lamitschka:  How much creative control do you have over your
music?

The Spinney Brothers  We have a great
amount of respect for each other in the band. Myself, my brother
Allan and Gary Dalrymple are partners in the business and we have
been performing together for over 20 years. We all know that we have
the same sense of taste, but we all agree that if one opinion is
stronger than the ohter, than we agree to go with the majority. It
works and has worked for 20 plus years. As well, our record label
has a great deal of trust in what we are doing and therefore, allows
us to be creative in deciding what goes on the CD.

Lamitschka:  There’s a lot of work that goes into a number
one hit. What did it take to make it in your case?

The Spinney Brothers  We stay on top of
the radio stations, keeping in constant contact with them, as well,
your profile has to come up, that is done different ways, for us,
being from Canada and somewhat removed from the hub of the bluegrass,
we took our music on the road full time which allows us to target
more markets and ultimately get in front of more fans. Sirius XM has
been one to the greatest tools in delivering our music to a vast
listening audience.

Lamitschka:  Do you have any interesting stories about how
fans have been affected by your music?

The Spinney Brothers One story that
comes to mind. I wrote a song called I Pray to God which is on our
When the Golden Leaves Begin to Fall album. The song is based on a
true story about the murder of a young 13 year old girl at the hands
of her mother. The story shicked the community, and the song touched
the family deeply, allowing some of them to grieve and begin to heal.
We were invited to perform the song at the one year anniversary
during the candle light vigil, the temperature was below zero and it
was an outside performance…it was an honour to have been invited.

Lamitschka:  Who inspires you musically and how deep do your
musical roots run?

The Spinney Brothers  We have been
fortunate in our musical career to have met the very talented Ron
Stewart of the Box Cars. Ron has engineered and produced our last 5
records as well as played fiddle on them. Ron brings a wealth of
experience and talent to anybody’s project. Ron is one of the
easiest guys to work with, his work ethic is through the roof…he
has been a blessing for our records. Our musical roots go back to
when we were just kids, with our mother being a huge influence,
providing us with music in our home and writing some great music.
Our Bluegrass roots go back to 1986 when we attended out first
bluegrass festival here in Nove Scotia…that changed our lives
(along with a record of Flatt and Scruggs)

Lamitschka:  What do you think about today’s music scene
versus its post and where do you see it going in the future?

The Spinney Brothers I believe the
music is strong and healthy. The ecomomy however is struggling a
bit, making it difficult for promoters and performers to have profit
margins that ensure both continu. There has been a noticable decline
in festival attendances in some areas and not so much in others. We
must all work together to ensure that the growth continues or at
leasts sustains until we are in a better economically better
position.

Lamitschka:  What do you think about today’s music industry?

The Spinney Brothers  The music
industry has always been questionable to me. What all of us don’t
want to see is how the Music Industry changed Country Music. Again,
i think the Bluegrass Music Industry is still in the right place and
moving in the right direction. They all seem to be working for the
better of the music.

Lamitschka:  If you had the chance to change something about
the music industry, what would it be?

The Spinney Brothers  Selfishly, I
believe that if a band has made a commitiment to persue this music as
a full time career, I would say that they are investing a lot in the
preservation of this great music, so in my opinion, there should be
more consideration in ensuring that full time bands have venues to
perform.

Lamitschka:  As an artist, you so many tasks such as
recording, touring, interviews. What do you like best, what’s your
favorite activity?

The Spinney Brothers  My personal
favorite aspect of the music is stage performance. But creating new
music, whether it’s our own music or someone elses is very
exciting. Bringing new music to the market is so healthy for the
music.

Lamitschka:  Are you doing anything to take music beyond its
current borders or are you happy where it is?

The Spinney Brothers LOL…well, since our
new CD that will be coming out this year is called, No Borders, so it
is funny you should ask that question. We have always believed that
Bluegrass music, since we have become involved in it, has no borders.
It is world wide and I think that is just awesome!! We intend to
take our style of music as far as we can and to as many countries as
we can. 

Lamitschka:  What was your big break that got you into the
music business?

The Spinney Brothers  I wish we had a
big break…..but like most every other Bluegrass act, we have had to
work very hard in every aspect of the business to achieve our goals.
But I will say, that back in the early 90’s, when we first began
performing, we had the chance to open up for Ricky Skaggs close to
our hometown. He was as gracious as any we have seen since and we
still hold that opportunity as a highlight and a great oportunity at
that time for us.

Lamitschka:  Before you became a star, were your friends and
family supportive or was it a struggle?

The Spinney Brothers  I really don’t
think we would be where we are without the loving support of our
friends, family and fans. We owe a lot to our mother, our biggest
fan…..and biggest critic!! The criticism has been better than the
encouragement.

Lamitschka:  What inspired you to become an artist?

The Spinney Brothers  I love to
perform, I love the music and I love people.

Lamitschka:  What inspired you to become a songwriter?

The Spinney Brothers  It is a way to
express my feelings, to creat a story and put music to it and have
peope like it. There are true songs, fiction and instrumentals….I
love being creative.

Lamitschka:  What drives you?

The Spinney Brothers  The music..plain and simple!! From my
first festival, the first time I heard Earl, the harmony, The Stanley
Brothers, my first song I played on the banjo…everything about the
music drives me!

Lamitschka:  What does it take to be a music icon?

The Spinney Brothers  Usually
time…but I believe if you stay true to your music, true to
yourself, treat others with respect and treat the music with respect,
you will atain iconic values. If you sit back and look at the true
icons (Earl, Lester, Doyle, Rhonda) just to name a few, you will
surely see a trend.

Lamitschka:  What’s unique about you that will differentiate
you from other artists?

The Spinney Brothers  We are
Canadian…we sound different, but I feel we deliver the traditional
sound in the same vein that the brother acts before us did.

Lamitschka:  What has been your greatest challenge in music
business?

The Spinney Brothers Our greatest challenge
has been to find a booking agent that is willing to take us on as a
client. Being from Canada, our bookings depend on a lot of routing
gigs. It seems that not many booking agents are interested in
looking after that aspect of the booking. We have always joked that
it surprises us, that here we are, an international touring band,
working 110+ dates a year, and no booking agents want to make money
off us. We do all of our American booking internally. Gary
Dalrymple, our mandolin player looks after all the bookings. He is
irreplaceable, with great work ethic, great communications skills and
always fair, he is the man for the job.

Lamitschka:  What moments in your career stand out in your
memory as highlights and achievements which you are proud of?

The Spinney Brothers  We have set many
goals, acheived all of them to date. We have always wanted a song to
chart on the Bluegrass Unlimited charts, we could not have imagined
the success of the Memories song and this is for sure the highlight
of our career, having our song, Memories go to the number 1 spot on
the charts.

Lamitschka:  Who is your biggest critic, yourself or others?

The Spinney Brothers  As I mentioned
before, Our mother was in the early days, but we have learned to be
very critical of ourselves, I believe this makes your product as good
as it can be. We are never satisfied with it being ok, even though
we realize that it might have been the best performance we could have
given or the best record we could have made, we strive to better it
the next time.

Lamitschka:  When you get time off, how do you like to relax?

The Spinney Brothers  Spenmding time
with family…family is first and formost, and even though it seems
like the music is at the forfront, it is our families that stand
above all!

Lamitschka:  Is there anything in your life that you would
change if you could?

The Spinney Brothers I wish I had learned to
play my instrument better at a younger age. It seems now that it is
difficult to break the bad habbits and time just doesn’t seem to
permit the investment you need to make to excel in that area.

Lamitschka:  What hopes and desires do you have?

The Spinney Brothers  Of course, one of
the way out there dreams is to one day play the Grand Ol‘ Opry.
But realistically, it is my desire to have our music be recognized as
part of this generations contribution to the growth of Traditional
Bluegrass music.

Lamitschka:  What has been the biggest disappointment in your
life?

The Spinney Brothers  I wish I could
answer that question, and I am being truly honest, I can’t think of
any big disappointments. Everything that I have done has led me to
this point in my life and who I am, I can’t even think of any
changes I would have made. I am very blessed!

Lamitschka:  Many European fans travel to the United States
to attend the several of the music festivals for the opportunity to
see so many of their favorite artists, bands and celebrities. Will
you be participating and how will the fans be able to find you?

The Spinney Brothers  75 % of our gigs
are in the US, it is essential for us to continue to work in the
birthplace of this music. There are great opportunities, great fans
and oh…warm weather that keeps us working year round in the US. We
are accessable all over the world on the web…“spinneybrothers.com“.

Lamitschka:  Is there any place you haven’t played that you
would like to?

The Spinney Brothers  Europe and Japan.

Lamitschka:  What can your fans expect to see when they see
you in concert?

The Spinney Brothers  A high energy
show filled with a bit of Classic Country, Gospel and Traditional
music, with particular attention payed to our dress code. We feel
for our band it is important to maintain a respected dress code.

Lamitschka:  When you’re on tour, do you have time to play
tourist?

The Spinney Brothers  Usually not…as
a full time touring band, one of the most improtant aspect of being
able to perform night after night is SLEEP! We have to keep our
bodies healthy in order to go night after night, so the only time the
tourist side comes out is when we do the Bluegrass Cruises.(which are
awesome) Check it out on our website, Danny Stewart Bluegrass
Cruise.

Lamitschka:  Do fans mob you everywhere you go or do they
respect your privacy?

The Spinney Brothers  Bluegrass fans
are like no other, everyone respects everyone for the most part. We
also recognize that the fans are the reason we are able to do this as
a living, the very least we can do is to give them some of our time.
Which is one ot the great things about this music, the people are
like family (that may sound like a cliche, but it is the absolute
truth)

Lamitschka:  Many music fans today get their information
about artists online. Do you have your own website and what will fans
find there?

The Spinney Brothers  Of course,
www.spinneybrothers.com
and facebook as well as twitter. We have photo’s listed there, our
performance schedule, bio’s, CD’s for sale and a news page.

Lamitschka:  Tell us about the fan club and how people can
join it.

The Spinney Brothers  We have a monthly
news letter that we are starting, so although it isn’t an official
fan club, if you forward your email address, we will be sending out
monthly newsletters that will give you lots of information on the
Spinney Brothers.

Lamitschka:  What’s the best compliment a fan has ever given
you?

The Spinney Brothers  That we take the
time to meet and greet and share our time with them.

Lamitschka:  What’s your favorite song that you wish you
could have recorded?

The Spinney Brothers  I have no
idea…lol..lol So many to choose from.

Lamitschka:  What message would you like to send your
European fans?

The Spinney Brothers  If you get a
chance to attend the IBMA’s, it is a must do!! Keep an eye out for
our band, keep supporting Bluegrass Music, remember, it’s global
and it needs to care and attention to grow.

Lamitschka:  How do you feel about being winning the ECBM
Awards?  What has it done for your career?

The Spinney Brothers  We have won many
Eastern Canadain Bluegrass Music awards. And although the awards are
great the rewards are greater. Being recognized by your fans and
piers is a very humbling feeling. We don’t base our successes on
awards though. We just keep working hard and try to enjoy it all.

Lamitschka:  You have a new love in your life? Can you tell
us something about it?

The Spinney Brothers  I have a new
baby…Kacey Jake Spinney. An amazing addition to our family, and
hopefully a future fiddle player!! 😉

Lamitschka:  Fans are always hungry for good road stories. Do
you have one you can share with us (come on don’t be shy)?

The Spinney Brothers  Here are
two…two band members were busy relaxing at the airport and forgot
to set their watches to the new time zone….I flew home alone that
day! Lol.. And, we left our mandolin player on the flat prairie
provinces while he was standing beside the van taking care of a
mother nature call…a funny site indeed to see your band member
looking over his shoulder at his buddies driving away!

Lamitschka:  Describe what a perfect day is like for you.

The Spinney Brothers  Wake up at
daylight, cook breakfast, serve my wife in bed, get the kids up, go
to the beach, come home and fire up the grill, end off with a quiet
night of pop corn and a movie.

Lamitschka:  Most careers don’t last as long as yours. 
What’s given your career the staying power?

The Spinney Brothers  The love of the
music, the willingness to bend (with pormoters, band members and
critics alike) Did I mention the love of the music?? Lol…When you
love something enough, much like a marriage, you are willing to do
what it takes to make it work.

Christian
Lamitschka ( Ch.Lamitschka@t-online.de
)

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