bob mcneill biography


“One of New Zealand’s most prominent and gifted songwriters... the songs are beautifully written”

Americana UK

“Endearing, and at times haunting songs... yearning and enchanting... a thoroughly captivating album”

New Zealand Musician, Me and Mary Ann

Singer and guitarist Bob McNeill is one of New Zealand's best known folk musicians, for his work solo and with Gillian Boucher. He has won three New Zealand Music Awards, all for Best Folk Album. McNeill’s songwriting has been widely praised and his songs have been covered by artists in New Zealand, Scotland, Australia and the USA. The Dominion Post compared him to Jackson Brown, James Taylor, Luka Bloom and Dougie MacLean; New Zealand Musician compared his songwriting to Bruce Springsteen and Mark Knopfler, and called his songs "endearing” and "haunting”. His characters sway on the horizon, sometime after the moment of decision... rare perspectives and sweet melodies, like the farmer inheriting his father’s dogs in Southland Man’s Lament, or the shell-shocked divorcee escaping a forest fire in Jesusita.

McNeill began working on his latest project, The California Tapes, in 2009 while residing in the state; he shelved it after an incident involving a journal, but returned to the project in 2017.  

McNeill is well known on the traditional music scene as an accompanist.  He now plays with Cape Breton fiddler Gillian Boucher, who is also based near Wellington.  Their duo is one of the most popular folk acts in New Zealand.  He also works with singer Chris Penman and is known for his past project with Kenny Ritch, Ben the Hoose.  He also plays with Canadian-Irish duo Fásta, and often accompanies touring Celtic musicians from Ireland, Scotland and North America who have mislaid their regular accompanist.  McNeill has taught Irish and Scottish guitar and bouzouki at events all over New Zealand.  

McNeill is also an author.  His first novel, Michies Crossing, is available on Kindle. 


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