Irish Rovers John Reynolds and George Millar at the Vancouver Island Music Awards. The Irish Rovers received the Island Classic Award in honor of their 45 plus year career.

Campbell River’s Rover accepts award

The Irish Rovers who have been based on Vancouver Island for the past 20 years won Song of the Year, and Island Classic awards at the 2011 Vancouver Island Music Awards held at the Sid Williams Theatre

The Irish Rovers who have been based on Vancouver Island for the past 20 years won Song of the Year, and Island Classic awards at the 2011 Vancouver Island Music Awards held at the Sid Williams Theatre.

Among an audience of young rockers, music veterans John Reynolds of Campbell River and George Millar of Nanoose, accepted awards for The Irish Rovers at the Vancouver Island Music Awards held June 23, at Sid Williams Theatre in Courtenay.

Although pleased at receiving the Song of the Year Award for his song, Gracehill Fair, Millar later said that he didn’t like to take an award that he feels should go to the younger musicians.

Later, VIMA producer, James Kasper introduced a special segment of the evening in which a short film depicting some highlights of The Irish Rovers long career was shown.

After the film, Kasper and co-host Donny Black added a few details:

“It all started with two young Irish immigrants meeting in a bar, and singing till dawn. Since then, The Irish Rovers have sold nearly 40 albums in North America, with dozens more internationally. A lot of their songs are about enjoying life, and the good taste of a whiskey, or a Guinness – a subject they studied long and hard. In fact, it was after attending one of their parties, that Tom Paxton decided to write Wasn’t That A Party.

“If you’re too young to have grown up with The Irish Rovers on television, I’ll just say, that these Irishmen, became so much a part of the Canadian culture, that Prime Minister Trudeau personally asked them to become Canadian.”

These Grammy and Juno nominees have survived it all – record label changes, personnel changes, management changes, and over 45 years later they’re still selling out tours internationally, and are soon to be back on the small screen with their latest television special, Home In Ireland.

The Rovers next album on Rover Records is soon to be released with their upcoming single, Whores and Hounds.

Then the audience, made up of mostly young musicians, gave a roaring standing ovation as Kasper announced that this year’s Island Classic Award was in honor of the Rovers’ 46-plus years of music.

The completely surprised Millar had words of encouragement for today’s struggling musicians: “my message to all you young people, who by the way are great, I wish you all the best – ‘don’t give up’ is my word to you tonight. No matter what anybody says to you, just tell them all to…get lost and keep doing what you want to do – and you’ll do it!”

Fellow Rover Reynolds then took the mike, “‘Don’t give up’ is three words, George.”

He went on to say, “keep it going, keep the records coming, keep the words coming, and enjoy your life.”

For over 20 years, Rovers John Reynolds and George Millar have made their home here on Vancouver Island. Millar says he gets inspiration for his songs from his waterfront home in Nanoose, and Rick Salt’s studio in Nanaimo is where they record the results.

When he’s not a-rovin’, Reynolds hosts fishing excursions from his home in Campbell River with his company Jigs & Reels.

For more on the awards see:

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