The Tannahill Weavers

The Tannahill Weavers: History

The Tannahill Weavers are one of Scotland's premier traditional bands. Their diverse repertoire spans the centuries with fire-driven instrumentals, topical songs, and original ballads and lullabies.

Source: Official website


The Tannahill Weavers are a popular band who perform traditional Scottish music. They are notable for being one of the first popular bands to incorporate the sound of the Great Highland Bagpipe (the Highland bagpipes are primarily a solo instrument) in an ensemble setting, and in doing so helped to change the sound of Scottish traditional music. The band was formed in 1968, practising in the back room of the McKay family's rented Council house at 41 St. Ninian's Road, Hunterhill, Paisley, and released its first album in 1976. As of 2008, they continue to tour and release new recordings. They are named after Scottish poet Robert Tannahill and have recorded several of his songs.

Source: wikipedia

Band members:

I have all Tannahill Weavers (vinyl) albums through 1989 and many of the below dates are based on those appearances, unless more actuate information is available…

  • Current Line up:
    • Roy Gullane (1974-Present): Guitar, vocals. [1] [2]
    • Phil Smillie (1974-Present): Flute, whistles, bodran, vocals. [1] [2] [3]
    • John Martin (1990-Present): Fiddle, viola, cello, vocals
    • Colin Melville (2000-Present): Highland bagpipes, Scottish smallpipes, tin whistles

  • Founding Members: [1]
    • John Cassidy (1968-?): flute, guitar, whistles, vocals
    • Neil Doherty (1968-?): vocals, guitar, mandolin, penny whistle
    • Jim McGowan (1968-?): vocals
    • Stuart McKay (1968-?): vocals, guitar, penny whistle
  • Past Members:
    • Hudson Swan (1972-1982): Bouzouki, fiddle, vocals, glockenspiel, mandolin
    • Davie Shaw (circa 1974?): bass, guitar
    • Dougie MacLean (1976-1977): Fiddle, mandolin, tenor banjo, vocals, guitar
      • Dougie returned to tour with the Tannahill Weavers at least once, as I saw them in concert (with Dougie) around 1985/86 — after Alan MacLeod left the band…
    • Mike Ward (1978-1980) Fiddle, guitar, vocals
    • Alan MacLeod (1978-1985) Bagpipes, whistles, bodhrán, flutes, assorted chanters
    • Willie Beaton (1980-1982?): Fiddle, vocals
    • Les Wilson (1981-1982 & 1990-2009): Bouzouki, guitar, keyboards, vocals
    • Bill Bourne (1983-1986): Vocals, bouzouki, acoustic and electric guitars, fiddle, keyboards, bass pedals
    • Ross Kennedy (1986-1989): Bouzouki, fiddle, bass pedals, vocals
    • Iain MacInnes (1986-1991): Highland bagpipes, Scottish small pipes, whistles, vocals
    • Stuart Morison (1987-1989): Fiddle, bones, guitar
    • Kenny Forsyth (1992-1995): Highland bagpipes, Scottish small pipes, whistles
    • Duncan J. Nicholson (1996-2000): Highland bagpipes, Scottish small pipes, whistles
    • Gordon Duncan (?): Highland bagpipes, tin whistles [4]
    • Willie Begg (?)
    • Davie Carmichael: banjo (?)

  • Notes
    1. Most sources state that the "Tannies" started touring professionally in 1974.
      • Their first recordings were in 1976 — it is this pre-1976 information that is suspect … [4]
    2. The Tannahill Weaver's website states Roy and Phil are "the two longest serving professional members of the Tannahills."
      • However, it is not stated when they actually joined.
    3. According to Alex Campbell's sleeve notes on their first album, Phil was "the band's original roadie".
    4. I found sources that list Gordon Duncan as a member in 1974 — which according to most biographical sources would have made him 10 years old …