Brian Mc Neill
Brian McNeill is looking forward to marking his musical half century next year, in a career that has established him as one of the most acclaimed forces in Scottish music. Brian was born in 1950 in Falkirk and has been described as ‘Scotland’s most meaningful contemporary songwriter’ (The Scotsman); add to that his work and influence as performer, composer, producer, teacher, musical director, band leader, novelist and interpreter of Scotland’s past, present and future and you have a man who has never stood still.
He has performed around the globe, both as a soloist and with some of the era’s most influential bands, including Battlefield Band, which he founded in 1969, Clan Alba and as a core member of the UK fiddle phenomenon, Feast of Fiddles. Brian performs and teaches regularly at many of the world’s major festivals and is the longest running booked artist at Cambridge Folk Festival.
Of his concerts, Brian says: ‘My audience can expect songs, stories and instrumental pieces that show me reacting to what I feel strongly about, what touches me and what I hope will touch them too. I love being surrounded by beautiful instruments and
making everyone feel part of my gig’.
Brian is a multi instrumentalist – chiefly fiddle, bouzouki, mandocello, guitars and concertina – and the importance of his songwriting has long been recognised with such songs as The Yew Tree, The Lads O' The Fair, The Snows of France and Holland, Strong Women Rule Us All With Their Tears, Any Mick'll Do and No Gods and
Precious Few Heroes. Many of his songs have been performed and recorded by artists worldwide.
Brian’s audio visual shows, The Back O' The North Wind, about Scottish emigration to America, and the sequel, The Baltic Tae Byzantium, exploring the influence of the Scots in Europe, have won wide critical acclaim. His long connection with America's Lone Star State led to him being created an honorary Texan by the then Governor George W Bush. For six years Brian was Head of Scottish Music at the RSAMD, now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Brian is increasingly in demand for his
production skills and his credits include albums by The Paul McKenna Band, Lorne
MacDougall, Rua Macmillan, Eric Bogle and John Munro, The John Wright Band and Missouri a cappella quartet The Wee Heavies.
Brian is a voracious reader and writes crime and mystery fiction involving his hero, busker Alex Fraser and his heroine, private sleuth Sammy Knox. Several of his novels have been published and he is about to release them as eBooks.