Vin Garbutt

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Vin Garbutt
Vin Garbutt 2010.jpg
Garbutt in 2010 at the National Folk Festival
Background information
Birth name Vincent Paul Garbutt
Born (1947-11-20) 20 November 1947 (age 69)[1]
Origin South Bank, Redcar and Cleveland
Genres Folk music
Years active 1970s to present
Notable instruments
Tin whistle

Vin Garbutt (born Vincent Paul Garbutt, 20 November 1947) is an English folk singer and songwriter. A significant part of his repertoire consists of protest songs covering topics such as "the Troubles" in Northern Ireland (Troubles of Erin), unemployment, and social issues.

Early life[edit]

Garbutt was born in South Bank, Middlesbrough, the son of an English father and an Irish mother.[2] He discovered folk music while he was still at school, and began visiting and performing at the Rifle Club in Cannon Street, Middlesbrough. After leaving school he was encouraged to become an apprentice at the Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) Wilton chemical plant, near to his home.[2] During this period he often visited Ireland in search of his musical roots. At the age of 21, he threw caution to the winds and became a professional musician. Armed with the rich repertoire of songs he had amassed, he spent the first summer busking his way around the bars of Spain's Mediterranean coast, and on to Morocco via Gibraltar. It was then that he found he had a talent for songwriting.

Back in England in 1972 he recorded his first album for Bill Leader, The Valley of Tees. This firmly established him as a singer and songwriter of well-crafted, socially conscious and environmentally aware songs.

Middle years[edit]

During 1999 Garbutt celebrated his 30th year as a professional performer. He spent the early part of the year on a world tour, playing extensively in the Far East, Australia and New Zealand. As soon as he got back to England he set off on his “Take It Easy after 30 Years on the Road” tour. To coincide with the tour he released his Word of Mouth CD, playing in various British venues to packed theatres. His rambling patter between the songs can take longer than the amount of time singing.

During 2001 Garbutt published the first collection of his songs, The Vin Garbutt Songbook. The collection spans his career from "The Valley of Tees" written in 1971 to "The Troubles of Erin'" written in 1999. Shortly afterwards, the companion CD was issued, Garbutt's first ever compilation CD and another world tour followed in 2004. A health check highlighted a minor health problem but in early 2005, whilst on a sabbatical trip to Spain, Garbutt's condition deteriorated. On his return he was hospitalised and a repair made to one of his heart valves. He has since made a full recovery and is back on the road. In his recuperation period he worked on his album Persona … Grata which was launched at The Sage Gateshead on 6 October 2005.


In 2001 Garbutt won the "Best Live Act” award at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards,[2] and was also nominated for "Folk Singer of the Year"[2] (with the award going to Norma Waterson). Later that year, he was awarded an Honorary Degree of Master of Arts by the University of Teesside.[3] In 2007 he was nominated for "Best Live Act" again at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards,[4] with the award going to Bellowhead.[5]


  • The Valley of Tees (1972)
  • The Young Tin Whistle Pest (live) (1974)
  • King Gooden (1976)
  • Eston California (1977)
  • Tossin' a Wobbler (1978)
  • Little Innocents (1983)
  • Shy Tot Pommy (1985) [live - Mount Isa, Queensland, Australia]
  • When The Tide Turns (1989)
  • The By-Pass Syndrome (1991)
  • Bandalised (1994)
  • Plugged! (1995) [live - Red Lion Folk Club, Birmingham, UK.]
  • When the Tide Turns Again (1998) [reissue of 1989 album with one additional track]
  • Word Of Mouth (1999)
  • The Vin Garbutt Songbook Vol 1 (2003)
  • Persona ... Grata (2005)
  • Teesside Troubadour documentary & live DVD (2011)
  • Synthetic Hues (2014)

In 2009 The Land of the Three Rivers from Eston California was included in Topic Records 70 year anniversary boxed set Three Score and Ten as track fourteen on the fifth CD.


  1. ^ "Vin Garbutt - gallery". Official Vin Garbutt website. Retrieved 2008-05-15. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Vin Garbutt - biography". Official Vin Garbutt website. Retrieved 2008-05-15. 
  3. ^ "Academic Awards from the University of Teesside". University of Teesside. 2001-11-23. Retrieved 2008-05-16. 
  4. ^ "Radio 2 Folk Awards 2007 - Nominations for 2007". BBC. Retrieved 2008-05-17. 
  5. ^ "Radio 2 Folk Awards 2007 - Winners 2007". BBC. Retrieved 2008-05-17. 

External links[edit]