Brian McNeill

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Brian McNeill
McNeill performing in August 2006
Background information
Born (1950-04-06) 6 April 1950 (age 70)
Falkirk, Scotland
Genres Folk rock
Occupation(s)Musician, singer, songwriter, record producer
Instruments Violin, guitar, viola, mandolin, bouzouki, cittern, concertina, hurdy-gurdy
Years active1969–present
Associated acts Battlefield Band
Website Official website

Brian McNeill (born 6 April 1950, Falkirk, Scotland) is a Scottish folk multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, record producer and musical director. He was a founding member of Battlefield Band which combined traditional Celtic melodies and new material.



McNeill learnt music on the violin before taking up other instruments including guitar, fiddle, viola, mandolin, bouzouki, cittern, concertina, and hurdy-gurdy, as well as singing. He played fiddle with Battlefield Band from its formation in 1969 until 1990. [1] [2] [3] In 1987, he won the UK National Songsearch competition for amateur and professional performers, having been runner-up in 1986. [4]

From 1996 until January 2008, McNeill was head of the traditional music course at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, Glasgow. [1] [5]

As a novelist he has published three books, The Busker (1989), [2] [3] [6] To Answer the Peacock (1999), [2] [3] and In the Grass. [2] He has also produced an acclaimed audio-visual show about Scottish emigration to America, The Back o' the North Wind. [2] [6] [7]

Apart from his visible contributions, McNeill is influential in Scotland and abroad as a producer. He has many production credits in the UK and North America including "Emigrant and Exile" for Eric Bogle with John Munro. [8]

McNeill's songs often feature lyrics based on Scottish historical themes, and he continually has celebrated the culture of his fellow Scots, including those who have emigrated to North America. His album The Back o' the North Wind features songs about industrialist Andrew Carnegie and the man who initiated the conservation movement in the United States, John Muir. [6] [2]

Brian McNeill won the inaugural Fatea Lifetime Achievement award in 2007 [9] and was the producer of 2017's instrumental album of the year, "Matt Tighe", the eponymous debut album of the young English fiddler that Brian had inspired at one of his many Cambridge Folk Festival appearances. [10]



With Battlefield Band

Solo albums

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  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "McNeill offers up the Scottish legends". Asheville Citizen-Times. Asheville, North Carolina. 14 July 2016. p. B2. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Romanski, Kara (15 October 2010). "Taking the road less traveled. Brian McNeill and his wife enjoy the scenic routes in life". Daily Record. Morristown, New Jersey. p. 7 TGIF!. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  4. "Sponsorship shortfall hits Songsearch". The Stage . 10 September 1987. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
  5. Scott, Robert Dawson (30 January 2008). "Accordionist is new head of traditional music course". The Times. p. 26. Retrieved 1 May 2019.[ permanent dead link ]
  6. 1 2 3 4 Sawyers, June (5 December 1991). "Allure of emigration. Brian McNeill's 'North Wind' profiles Scottish wanderlust". Chicago Tribune. Chicago, Illinois. p. 3, S5. Retrieved 1 May 2019.
  7. Bird, John (23 February 1991). "Americans may be in for quite a shock". Newcastle Evening Chronicle. Newcastle, Northumberland, England. p. 18. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
  8. The Great Scots Musicography ISBN   1-84183-041-0, 2002 Mercat Press, Edinburgh
  9. "Website Powered by FATEA". Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  10. "FATEA - Home". Retrieved 5 July 2020.
  11. Carnahan, Danny (May 2018). "Hail Caledonia: A Brief History of Scottish Song in America". Acoustic Guitar. Retrieved 5 May 2019.
  12. "The Falkirk Music Pot". Greentrax . March 2016. Retrieved 5 March 2016.