Brian McNeill

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Brian McNeill

Brian McNeill was born in Falkirk, Scotland, in 1950. He began his musical training in his early teens with violin lessons, but soon forsook that instrument for the electric guitar. A comprehensive musical education and a mildly misspent youth were the result - until his student years brought him to traditional music. He knew immediately that this was a music he had to play and as a direct consequence, in 1969 he picked up his fiddle again and, with friends, formed Battlefield Band.

Brian plays fiddle, viola, mandolin, cittern, bouzouki, guitar, concertina, bass and hurdy-gurdy, and the importance of his songwriting mostly about Scotland's past and future has long been recognised. The Yew Tree, The Lads O' The Fair, Montrose and The Snows Of France And Holland were among the best-loved of Battlefield Band's repertoire, and The Devil's Only Daughter won Britain's prestigious National Songsearch competition in 1987.

1989 saw the publication of Brian's first novel, The Busker, and a year later Brian left Battlefield Band to concentrate more on writing and solo projects. In the last few years he has toured extensively with the eight-strong Scottish "supergroup" Clan Alba, with his old friend Iain MacKintosh, with the Scottish-Irish line-up of Kavana, McNeill, Lynch and Lupari and with Ireland's Martin Hayes and Nova Scotia's Natalie MacMaster in the highly rated US Celtic Fiddle Festival series.

His own audio-visual show about Scottish emigration to America, The Back O' The North Wind has also won critical acclaim and his continuing connection with America's Lone Star State led to him being created an honorary Texan in 1999 by the then Governer George W Bush . Brian's second novel 'To Answer The Peacock' was published that same year by Black Ace Books in Scotland , along with a fiddle album and tune book of the same name.

Brian appears on many of the early Battlefield Band albums, the first 'Fiddlers Five' album (Temple Records COMD2044), and has recorded two solo albums on Temple Records: 'The Busker & The Devils only Daughter' (Temple Records COMD2042) & 'Unstrung Hero' (COMD2017) which are no longer available on Temple Records but can now be purchased directly from Brian's own site.