Brian McNeill

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Brian McNeill
McNeill performing in August 2006
Background information
Born (1950-04-06) 6 April 1950 (age 65)
Falkirk, Scotland
Genres Folk rock
Occupation(s) Musician, singer, songwriter, record producer
Instruments Violin, guitar, viola, mandolin, concertina, hurdy-gurdy
Years active 1969–present
Associated acts The 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 The Battlefield Band which combined traditional Celtic melodies and new material.


McNeill learnt music on the violin before taking up electric guitar. McNeill now sings and plays a range of instruments including guitar, fiddle, viola, mandolin, concertina, and hurdy-gurdy. He played fiddle with The Battlefield Band from its formation in 1969 until 1990.

In the 1990s he toured extensively with the Scottish ensemble Clan Alba and did joint tours with guitarist Tony McManus and with Iain MacKintosh. More recently he has collaborated and toured with fellow member of Clan Alba, Dick Gaughan.

As a novelist he has published two books, The Busker and To Answer The Peacock. He has also produced an acclaimed audio-visual show about Scottish emigration to America, The Back O' The North Wind.

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[1] and two CDs for fiddler John Taylor. He is also a prolific songwriter.

In recent years Brian McNeill has hosted the Saturday Session at the Cambridge Folk Festival, pulling together many interesting ad hoc groupings from bands playing the festival that year. In doing so he has established a festival record for the most consecutive appearances in the program by an artist. Abroad, he is a fixture at Tønder Festival and the Texas Scottish Festival.

2008 saw Brian McNeill receive the first ever Fatea Magazine Lifetime Achievement Award, recognising, not only, Brian's work as a musician, arranger and producer, but also his work in education passing on his passion for music to rising stars of the next generation.




  • Monksgate (1978)
  • Unstrung Hero (1985)
  • The Busker and the Devil's Only daughter (1985)
  • The Back O' The North Wind (1991)
  • Horses for Courses with Tom McDonagh (1994)
  • No Gods (1995)
  • Stage By Stage with Iain MacKintosh (1995)
  • To Answer the Peacock (1999)
  • Live and Kicking with Iain MacKintosh (2000)
  • The Baltic tae Byzantium (2009)
  • The Crew o' the Copenhagen with Drones & Bellows (2010)


  1. ^ The Great Scots Musicography ISBN 1-84183-041-0, 2002 Mercat Press, Edinburgh

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