John McCusker

John McCusker (born 15 May 1973) is a Scottish folk musician, record producer and composer. An accomplished fiddle player, he had a long association as a member of the Battlefield Band beginning in the 1990s and was later a band member and producer for folk singer Kate Rusby. He has served as producer and arranger for artists in a range of genres and also has several solo albums to his credit.

John McCusker
McCusker during the Festival Interceltique de Lorient in 2012
McCusker during the Festival Interceltique de Lorient in 2012
Background information
Born (1973-05-15) 15 May 1973 (age 48)
Bellshill, Scotland
GenresFolk rock, folk, Alternative country, Rock and roll
Musical Arranger
InstrumentsViolin, tin whistle, cittern, guitar, backing vocals
Associated actsBattlefield Band, Mark Knopfler, Paul Weller, Roddy Woomble, Kris Drever, Eddi Reader, Kate Rusby, Heidi Talbot, Kyle Carey


McCusker was born in Bellshill, 15 May 1973 near Glasgow, Scotland, to an Irish mother who encouraged him to learn to play the fiddle beginning at age seven. He became a regular in local youth orchestras and ceilidh bands and formed the band Parcel O'Rogues (named from Robert Burns' Sic a Parcel o' Rogues in a Nation) with some schoolmates when he was 14. A couple of years later he gave up a place at the Royal Scottish Academy in Glasgow to go on the road with the Battlefield Band. His first solo album was released by Temple in 1995.[1]

McCusker spent eleven years as a member of the Battlefield Band.[2] He also guested on albums by Ocean Colour Scene, Paul Weller, Teenage Fanclub, Danny Thompson, Eddi Reader, Tim O'Brien and Linda Thompson. By then[when?] he was already involved with folk singer Kate Rusby. He joined her band, and became her producer. They married in August 2001, but divorced in 2006.[3]

He has shared stages with Bonnie Raitt, Patti Smith, Steve Earle, Rosanne Cash, Paolo Nutini and Jools Holland, and been featured on recordings by Mark Knopfler, Paul Weller, Teenage Fanclub, and Ocean Colour Scene. Film and TV work include soundtracks for the movie Heartlands (2002), Billy Connolly's World Tour of New Zealand and the Jennifer Saunders sitcom Jam & Jerusalem. His most recent solo album, Goodnight Ginger, was released in 2003. McCusker won the Spirit of Scotland award for music in 2001 and the BBC Radio 2 folk musician of the year in 2003.

McCusker's work as a producer includes debut albums by Kris Drever and Roddy Woomble. He's also manned the controls[clarification needed] for singers Eddi Reader, Linda Thompson and Eliza Carthy, and is currently[when?] at work on the forthcoming solo release from Radiohead drummer Phil Selway.

After a 6-month world tour with Mark Knopfler, McCusker released a new record along with Orcadian singer Kris Drever and Idlewild front man, Roddy Woomble. The album Before the Ruin was released in September 2008, and features members of Teenage Fanclub, Radiohead, Michael McGoldrick and Heidi Talbot.

In 2007, McCusker was jointly commissioned by the Celtic Connections festival and Cambridge Folk Festival to compose Under One Sky, uniting Scottish and English musicians of different genres, from Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis to ex-Blur guitarist Graham Coxon. He toured to support Under One Sky in the UK in November and December 2008.

After bassist Mike McNamara introduced John and Simon Fowler of Ocean Colour Scene to each other, Fowler subsequently presented him with the BBC Radio 2 folk musician of the year award in 2003. McCusker has appeared live on numerous of times with the Birmingham band, and in 2012 McCusker appeared on Fowler's 'Merrymouth' album, he also joined the band on their UK tour

In 2014, McCusker once again appeared on Fowlers solo project, now called Merrymouth, brand new album 'Wenlock Hill'. The album also features a guest appearance from Chas Hodges from Chas and Dave


Solo albumsEdit

  • John McCusker (1995)
  • Yella Hoose (2001)
  • Goodnight Ginger (2004)
  • Before the Ruin (2008) (with Roddy Woomble and Kris Drever)
  • Under One Sky (2009) (with Under One Sky tour artists)
  • Hello, Goodbye (2016)

As producerEdit

Other appearancesEdit

Awards and nominationsEdit

Awards wonEdit

  • BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards 2016 - Good Tradition Award
  • Spirit of Scotland Award for Music 2009
  • BBC Radio 2 Folk Music Awards 2003 – Musician of the Year
  • Spirit of Scotland Award for Music 2000


  • BBC Radio 2 Folk Music Awards – Musician of the Year 2010


  • Best Instrumentalist Irelands Music Awards 2009
  • BBC Radio 2 Folk Music Awards – Musician of the Year 2009
  • Composer of the Year Scots Trad Music Awards 2007
  • BBC Radio 2 Folk Music Awards – Musician of the Year 2008
  • BBC Radio 2 Folk Music Awards – Musician of the Year 2007


  1. ^ Gilchrist, Jim, Arbitrary Boundaries, in Ross, Raymond (ed.), Cencrastus No. 52, Summer 1995, pp. 35 & 36, ISSN 0264-0856
  2. ^ "About John" 2016. retrieved 29 March 2021.
  3. ^ "Kate Rusby – Wyvern Theatre, Swindon". 24 April 2010. Retrieved 23 March 2019.
  4. ^ "folk award winners 2010". 2010. Retrieved 29 March 2021


External linksEdit

  1. ^ "folk award winners 2010". 2010. Retrieved 29 March 2021