The Cottars

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The Cottars
OriginCape Breton Island, Canada
Years active2000 (2000)–present

The Cottars are a Canadian Celtic musical group from Cape Breton Island formed in 2000. The group's current members are Ciarán and Fiona MacGillivray, Bruce Timmins,[1] and Claire Pettit.[2]


The Cottars began in late 2000 when Ciarán and Fiona MacGillivray of Albert Bridge, Nova Scotia joined with Rosie and Jimmy MacKenzie of Baddeck, Nova Scotia to form a band.[3]

In 2001, they released their first CD, Made In Cape Breton, on Warner Music. The disc, with their single, a cover of Tom Waits's "The Briar and the Rose", showcased John McDermott's vocals along with Fiona's in two duets. In 2003, they won the New Group of the Year award at the 2003 East Coast Music Awards.[4] The members were each individually nominated for a Gemini Award in the same year in the category of Best Performance or Host in a Variety Program or Series for their performances at the 2003 East Coast Music Awards.[5]

In 2004, the Cottars released their second CD, On Fire, for which they won the Best Roots/Traditional Album award at the 2005 East Coast Music Awards.[6]

The group's third CD, Forerunner, was released on Rounder Records in January 2006, and was their first release in the U.S.[7] It contained two new Tom Waits covers; "Georgia Lee" and "Hold On". In January and March 2006, the Cottars went on a tour of the US with The Chieftains which included a performance at Carnegie Hall in New York City,[7] where they performed with Elvis Costello.[8]

In mid-2006, the group announced they would disband,[9] but they continued to perform together until the end of 2006.[10] Some time later, the group started performing again under a new arrangement in which the MacKenzie siblings were replaced with fiddler Claire Pettit and guitarist Bruce Timmins. The band released their fourth CD, Feast, in February 2010 on Rounder Records, which features the new members, Timmins and Pettit, in addition to the MacGillivray siblings.[citation needed]



  1. ^ The Cottars' website is somewhat inconsistent in using "Timmins" vs. "Timmons". The main text in the Cottars' biography uses "Timmons", but the individual bio for Bruce uses "Timmins".
  2. ^ "Biography". The Cottars. Retrieved December 25, 2012.
  3. ^ "The Cottars Biography",; retrieved December 25, 2012 (based on the Cottars' official biography in 2005).
  4. ^ "Awards", East Coast Music Association; archived April 11, 2003.
  5. ^ "Canada's Awards Database". Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television; retrieved December 25, 2012.
  6. ^ "2005 Music Award Nominations". East Coast Music Association; archived April 3, 2005.
  7. ^ a b "News 2005",; retrieved December 25, 2012.
  8. ^ "News". The Cottars; retrieved December 26, 2012.
  9. ^ Leblanc, Larry (July 1, 2006). "No Harmony for the Cottars" Archived 2013-01-15 at Billboard; archived June 28, 2006 at the Cbmusic mailing list archives Archived 2013-01-15 at Official subscription only version here.
  10. ^ "Tour Schedule". The Cottars. Archived on September 9, 2006.

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