One of Scotland’s most gifted and versatile musicians in any genre, John McCusker is equally in demand as a multi-instrumentalist, producer and composer. Born in Bellshill, near Glasgow, he began playing whistle and fiddle as a child, and joined the legendary folk outfit Battlefield Band aged just 17. During his 11 years with the band, John also released his first two solo recordings – 1995’s self-titled debut and 2000’s Yella Hoose, and began his long creative partnership with Yorkshire folk-singer Kate Rusby, producing several of her award-winning albums.
While initially emerging via the folk scene, John has long been renowned for his skill at transcending musical boundaries. As a live and studio guest he has shared stages with Bonnie Raitt, Patti Smith, Steve Earle, Roseanne Cash, Paolo Nutini and Jools Holland, and featured on recordings by Mark Knopfler, Paul Weller, Teenage Fanclub, Ocean Colour Scene, Idlewild and many more. His film and TV work includes soundtracks for the Damien O’Donnell movie Heartlands (2002), Billy Connolly’s World Tour of New Zealand and the Jennifer Saunders sitcom Jam and Jerusalem. His most recent solo album, Goodnight Ginger, came out in 2003.
John’s fast-expanding portfolio as a producer includes acclaimed debut albums by Kris Drever and Idlewild’s Roddy Woomble. He’s also manned the controls for top folk chanteuses Eddi Reader, Linda Thompson and Eliza Carthy, and is currently at work on the forthcoming solo release from Radiohead drummer Philip Selway. Other recent and current projects include 2007’s cross-genre ensemble suite Under One Sky, a co-commission by the Celtic Connections festival and Cambridge Folk Festival, and a new songwriting trio with the aforementioned Drever and Woomble. This year will also see John touring with Heidi Talbot and Boo Hewerdine playing songs from Heidi’s new record In love and Light.
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