McNeill offers up Scottish legends

Staff reports

The motto of Scotland’s legendary Battlefield Band is “Forward With Scotland’s Past,” and its blend of Scots traditional music and innovative arrangements still reverberates. Founded in Glasgow in 1969, the band was one of the first bands to introduce a revitalized Scottish folk music to the world, and it is still forging ahead in 2016, the musical torch having been handed to a new generation of great players.

Brian McNeill uses his music and songwriting to pass along the culture of his native Scotland to the next generation.

Brian McNeill, founder and prime architect of the band’s sound, went solo in 1990, but he’s since become an acclaimed ambassador for Scottish music and culture in his own right.  Concluding a week as an instructor at the Swannanoa Gathering Celtic Week, the singer/multi-instrumentalist will perform at the White Horse Black Mountain on Saturday, July 16.

McNeill learned music on the fiddle as a child, but has since added guitar, viola, mandolin, mandocello, bouzouki, concertina and hurdy-gurdy to his instrumental arsenal. Recognized as a masterful and prolific songwriter, he has written songs built around themes out of Scottish history and takes great pride in the achievements of his fellow Scots. His best known album, "The Back o’ the North Wind," features songs about Scottish emigrants, including industrialist Andrew Carnegie and conservationist John Muir.

McNeill has toured with other stars of the Scottish folk revival, including Clan Alba, Tony McManus and Dick Gaughan and has been highly influential as a record producer. As an author, McNeil has three books, "The Busker," "To Answer the Peacock" and the crime novel "In the Grass" to his credit. He maintains a busy international schedule as a musician, arranger and educator.

You take the high road ...

Who: Brian McNeill

When: 8 p.m. July 16

Where: White Horse Black Mountain

Cost: $12 advance, $15 door