Brian McNeill is in the 51st year of a career that has established him as one of the most acclaimed forces in Scottish music. His work and influence as a songwriter, performer, composer, producer, teacher, musical director, band leader, novelist and interpreter of Scotland’s past, present and future, make him a man who has never stood still.
Falkirk-born Brian 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.
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. He has been described as ‘Scotland’s most meaningful contemporary songwriter’ (The Scotsman).
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 album credits include Davey Arthur, The Paul McKenna Band, Lorne MacDougall, Rua Macmillan, Eric Bogle and John Munro, Matt Tighe and Tad Sargent, The John Wright Band, Drones and Bellows and Missouri a cappella quartet The Wee Heavies.
Brian is a voracious reader and writes short stories, crime and mystery fiction involving his hero, busker Alex Fraser and his heroine, private sleuth Sammy Knox.