Bob McNeill Factsheet
Bob McNeill moved from his native Glasgow to New Zealand in 1998 and has established himself as one of the country's foremost singer-songwriters. He has twice won the Recording Industry of New Zealand Tui award for ‘Best Folk Album’, most recently for his 2004 for his critically-praised second album Turn the Diesels. His songs have been featured in New Zealand on National Radio and TV1, and have been covered widely in New Zealand and by top Scottish artists such as Emily Smith.
Born in Glasgow and of Scots-Irish descent, Bob grew up in a house where there was spirited, if occasional, music when his father played the piano at parties, often with several other family members leaning upon it. A musical aunt and uncle rounded out the band until, much later, he was able to join it. At Bob's father's door is laid also the charge of introducing him to the Scottish Highlands, a discovery which cost many hours, days and weeks of time orginally allocated to university study. While climbing in Glencoe, Lochaber and Skye in the late eighties and nineties he discovered the music of the Highlands, and fell irredeemably in love with it.
A science degree and PhD in Glasgow allowed him to continue this lifestyle of music and mountains until 1995, when he moved to England for two years. On a world trip in 1998, he discovered New Zealand, forgot to return home, and lived for several years in Dunedin, in the South Island. In 2005, he moved to the North Island, and now lives in Wellington.
Bob is one of New Zealand's top accompanists of Scottish and Irish music. He plays bouzouki and open-tuned guitar, and is in demand for his rhythmic style, delicate counterpoint and subtle chord selection. He often works with touring musicians from overseas who have mislaid their regular accompanist.
Bob has become a darling of the folk festival circuit owing to his now-legendary prowess with bacon sandwiches and any dishes involving tatties. He also makes a spectacular red wine sauce and unusual pastas with a Celtic flavour.
Bob is also a web developer. He built and runs musicsitepro.com, which offers musicians a sharp-looking website that's easy to update.
Photo by Andrew MacKay