Anchor Line is a new trio playing music of the Scots and Irish nations. Following the tradition from its ancient roots, the band weaves the impassioned tale of a people challenged by British imperialism, through centuries of love, war, poetry, music, song, economic hardship, betrayal and emigration. Like the erstwhile Glasgow shipping company of the same name, the band takes the richness of the folk tradition from its native lands across the Atlantic and back again; blending old tunes and songs of the day with contemporary works, honouring the indomitable spirit and pioneering narrative of the Gael.
Dónal Boyle moved to Scotland from the north of England at the age of 14 and has since immersed himself in the vibrant live music scene of the Isle of Arran, Ayrshire and Glasgow. With Irish-American family roots, Dónal thrived on the traditional, folk, country, jazz & bluegrass music being played in the pubs and festivals in southwest Scotland. Over time, he has drawn on all of these influences, which have morphed into his own, distinctive “trans-Atlantic gypsy” style of fiddling. With a deep love of ballads, time spent at sea and having been raised soaking up the works of the finest folk artists, Dónal brings his own take on the tradition to the party. Singing songs from the heart, picking guitar and harmonising with fiddle and vocals, Dónal is in his element with Anchor Line.
Stephen McCann (Steg) was born and raised in Glasgow - the third generation of an Irish family growing up around the Govan shipyards; his father sailed as a deck hand with the Anchor Line between Glasgow and New York in the 1930s. Raised with an innate passion for music and amassing a vast repertoire of songs from both sides of the Atlantic, Steg’s intuitive ear for harmony and mastery of guitar, bass, slide guitar and mandola, make him a powerhouse of musical charisma.
Anchor Line is not Steg’s first rodeo. He has a long and distinguished career as a sought-after band member and session musician; playing just about any genre you care to think of. During a spell on the Isle of Arran, in the early 2000s, he joined the Boguillie Band, where he first met Dónal and found much musical common ground, whilst playing concerts and ceilidhs in Arran, the UK and abroad. The same common ground is now the foundation of Anchor Line’s sound and setlist. Watch his and Dónal Interview here on MyPlayer.
John Peter Gourlay (JP) hails from the fishing village of Girvan on the Ayrshire coast. His father is a fisherman, as were countless generations of family members before him, so he has grown up with music, boats and the sea in his blood - in equal measure. Legend has it that JP has attended every Girvan Folk Festival since birth, to which his parents would take him in his pram! This has clearly proven to be a winning strategy because he has a rare talent and a deeply-rooted love of folk music, alongside many other idioms. Playing mostly 5-string bass, JP is very much the engine room of the ship although he is an equally natural guitarist, having played with bands since the age of 16 and further honed his skills, whilst studying music at the University of the West of Scotland. JP brings subtlety, warmth and drive to the Anchor Line set, lifting everything with an infectious, understated musicality.
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