Rankin Family gets East Coast Music Association award

The Rankin Family, Scotty Turner and Billy and Cornelia MacLeod are winners of the East Coast Music Association's 2010 Honourary Awards.

Scotty Turner, Billy and Cornelia MacLeod also honoured

The Rankin Family, Scotty Turner and Billy and Cornelia MacLeod are winners of the East Coast Music Association's 2010 Honourary Awards.

Announced by the association on Monday, the winners have all made substantial contributions to the East Coast music industry.

The Special Director's Award will go to the Rankin Family in recognition of the Cape Breton group's contribution to the music industry on a national and international level. In the 10 years between 1989 and 1999, the Rankins took home 15 East Coast Music Awards, six Juno Awards, four Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada Awards and three Canadian Country Music Awards.

The group took a hiatus in 1999 so members could pursue individual careers. But, in 2007, Jimmy, Cookie, Raylene and Heather reunited for a Canadian comeback tour. This year, the Rankin Family released its new CD, These Are the Moments.

Turner was posthumously awarded the Dr. Helen Creighton Lifetime Achievement Award for his profound effect on Atlantic Canadian music. He died on Feb. 9 at the age of 77.

Born, Graham Morrison Turnbull in Sydney, N.S., his career as musician, songwriter, producer and publisher spanned more than 50 years. Turner was lead guitarist and writer for Tommy Sands and the Raiders and joined A&M Recorders as writer/producer in 1963. In 1968, he moved to Nashville to take over the country division of Liberty/Imperial/United Artists. He composed more than 350 recorded songs and co-wrote with Buddy Holly, Audie Murphy, Herb Alpert and Tommy Sands, among others.

Cornelia MacLeod and her late husband, Billy, were honoured with the Stompin' Tom Award for their sustained contributions to the East Coast music industry.

The MacLeods met in high school, and became musical fixtures in Cape Breton, known for their country and Acadian sound. They spent 20 years touring, performing in Europe, Africa, South America, Mexico and the U.S., and released five albums and four 45 recordings. In recent years, they lived in Fort McMurray, Alta.

Billy MacLeod died on Dec. 27, 2008, at the age of 57, a year after suffering a massive stroke.

The honourary awards will be presented on March 5, 2010, at the East Coast Music Awards, Festival & Conference in Sydney, N.S.