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The Spinney Brothers

Tried & True – 2014 (Mountain Fever)

Reviewed by Fred Smith

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The Spinney Brothers don't want to startle you; they want to deliver straight-ahead bluegrass-style traditional music. As they declare in the liner notes to "Tried and True," "[W]e are constantly searching, not for change, but for new ways to bring our fans the best of what we have to offer." This simple (if circular) declaration sums up "Tried and True."

The Spinney Brothers hail from Nova Scotia, Canada, but deliver Old South-resonant instrumentation, harmonies and old-time style in the 12 tracks. They include a couple of self-referential songs, starting out with "Thank God For The Highway" ("that brings me back to you") and "My Music Comes From Bill" (guess who?). The predictable nature of the material in no way undermines the freshness of the singing and playing, though.

There's a train song, "Freightyard Down the Street," written by former IIIrd Tyme Out player Edgar Loudermilk. The Spinneys, true to their generally solid live stage shows, offer a couple of gospel numbers. There's even a strong song, written by Allen Spinney and Paula Breedlove, about Alzheimer's ("She Doesn't Mourn Any More") in which the disease is presented more as a blessing than a curse.

The brothers, Allan and Rick Spinney, handle earnest vocals with ease and carry most of the instrumental load. Chuck-chuck-chuck fiddle runs and guitar turnarounds abound. Gary Dalrymple, the band's mandolinist, gets a chance to shine throughout. The Spinney Brothers have delivered well on their mission statement.