Alex Beaton is a Scottish, guitar-playing folksinger who makes more than 20 concert appearances annually at various events across the United States (primarily highland games). Beaton appears annually at the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games in North Carolina, and the Stone Mountain Highland Games in Atlanta, Georgia, two of the largest highland games events in the United States. Beaton has been called "probably the country's most popular Scottish folk singer." He has a baritone voice.
At many events, Beaton not only serves as a key entertainer, but as the event emcee. Beaton is known for his powerful stage presence and sense of humour. He frequently interacts and jokes with audiences while performing and in-between songs. One of his albums, Daft Ditties, is composed entirely of comedic songs. Beaton is also known for his keen knowledge of Scotland's history.
Beaton had released 21 albums on CD and one DVD musical travelogue of Scotland that pulls together three titles that were previously released on VHS tape. He has featured artists such as Alasdair Fraser and Eric Rigler on his recordings. Along with his concert appearances, Beaton hostdc one or two trips to Scotland per year where he served as the host and tour guide. All tours typically sold out quickly.
Born in Glasgow, Scotland, to a Scottish father and an Irish mother, Beaton began his musical career as a member of The Cumberland Three, one of Britain's top folk groups in the early 1960s. The Cumberland Three consisted of Beaton, Brian Fogarty, and Leonard Sturrock, with Pete Sayers on the banjo. Beaton immigrated to the United States in 1965. He served in the US Army, entertaining troops in the Third Army Soldiers' Show and the Seventh US Army Chorus in Germany. He launched his solo career in New York in 1968. During the 1970s, he re-directed his career toward writing and performing American country music. He had songs of that genre that won the International American Song Festival Awards in 1974.
Since the early 1980s, Beaton has focused on folk music that is primarily Scottish in origin or subject, although his repertoire includes songs in the folk music genre that are not purely Scottish (Stan Rogers music for example). Featured on his recordings are artists such as Eric Rigler and Alasdair Fraser.
In July 2011 Beaton was paralysed from the neck down due to a severely compressed cervical disc.
Little is known about his personal life other than he is a cancer survivor and, after spending more than three decades in the Los Angeles area (most recently the Woodland Hills area), he moved to Franklin, Tennessee. Two years after his accident, he and his wife, Linda, moved to St. Peters, Missouri nearer to family who will offer assistance. Alex Beaton has two daughters, Alessandra MacLeod Beaton and Catriona MacLeod Beaton. He also has a stepson, John Patrick Polston.
Beaton is the founder and president of his own record label—Glenfinnan Music Ltd. He has released 20 albums under this label (all titles are available on CD).
|Album Title||Glenfinnan Music Product Number||Copyright Date|
|Alex Beaton Sings of Scotland Forever||GRCD101||1984|
|Los Angeles Police Pipe Band, Featuring Vocals, Alex Beaton||GRCD102||1984|
|I Have Seen the Highlands||GRCD104||1986|
|On the Beaton Path||GRCD105||1987|
|A Dream of Arran||GRCD108||1989|
|Songs of Praise, Pipes of Peace||GRCD110||1990|
|The Road to the Isles||GRCD112||1991|
|In The Scottish Tradition||GRCD115||1993|
|Alex Beaton's Christmas Classics||GRCD116||1994|
|The Water is Wide||GRCD117||1995|
|Over the Border||GRCD119||2001|
|Beaton's Personal Favorites||GRCD121||2006|
|The Songs of Robert Burns||GRCD122||2007|
|From the Sea to the Shore||GRCD123||2010|
|Live in Concert||GRCD124||2013|
- Alex Beaton's Scotland, A Musical Travelogue of Scotland in Three Films (GR DVD 101), includes three films previously released on VHS tape:
- Going Home (1989) — "Alex's Going Home, magically transports you – in this stunning musical and video production – to such historic and majestic locales as Glencoe, Culloden, Loch Lomond, Stirling Castle, Glenfinnan, Bannockburn and the Isle of Skye" (from DVD jacket).
- I Belong to Glasgow (1990) – "Let Alex personally lead you on an enchanted stroll through his beloved birthplace in I Belong to Glasgow. Share in the humor, the songs, and the history. Take a trip down the river Clyde and see Glasgow from its industrious past through its rich and colorful present" (from DVD jacket).
- On The Castle Trail (1994) – "...travel back in time as Alex takes you on a mysterious exploration of Scotland's rich history. With castles as guideposts, On The Castle Trail is a magic carpet ride of sheer exhilaration. You'll visit the picturesque ruins of Caerlaverock and the forbidding strongholds of Hermitage and Dunstaffnage. See the remarkable fairytale retreats of Glamis and Eilean Donan; and the dramatic clifftop fortress of Dunnottar and the world-famous Edinburgh Castle. You'll came face-to-face with knights in shining armor and warring clan chiefs. Let your imagination run wild!" (from DVD jacket).
- Beaton's full name is Alexander William MacLeod Beaton.
- Beaton also plays the harmonica.
- Beaton sometimes refers to himself as "Alec" during live shows.
- In times of whimsy, Beaton has been known to perform "On the Commode Again," a humorous take on Willie Nelson's "On the Road Again."
- Beaton regularly (every August) hosted one or two tours on a 10-day trip to his beloved homeland. It sold out quickly and was so popular that several of his tour group members signed up to go more than once.
- Knippenberg, Jim.  "Party 'n' play like the Scots, Kentucky Scottish Weekend takes over state park in Carrolton." Accessed 24 June 2007.
- Gatherer, Nigel.  "The Cumberland Three." Accessed 16 May 2007.
- Tager, Miles. "Top act: Alex Beaton to showcase Scottish folk heritage in series of appearances." Accessed 22 July 2007.