Bill is well known as a live performer at clubs, bars, festival stages and fireside sessions throughout Cumbria, the Scottish Borders and North West England. He has toured regularly in County Cavan, County Leitrim and the far west of Ireland. He appears annually at the Appleby Horse Fair, where he is a Traveller Representative on the multi-agency group which manages the public response to the Fair.
He mostly plays solo, and has also recorded with The Willy Ruby Band, The Wildwood Band, and with Billy & The Goats. He plays traditional Galician music with his wife Ali in The Cumbria Gaita Band.
His material ranges from traditional and contemporary English and Irish ballads, Appalachian mountain songs and tunes, through bluegrass, country rock and alt-country music, to European and Balkan traditional dance music, some pop songs and his own songs and tunes. Please see drop-down menu for CD albums and streaming audio tracks.
Although his music draws on different styles, he has developed a personal and distinctive voice, using strong lyrics with banjo accompaniment in the clawhammer and frailing styles. His music has found a wide and enthusiastic audience over the last 30 years, and appeals to young and old, straight and alternative, traditional and contemporary.
Bill has appeared on stages throughout England, Ireland and Scotland, including the Manchester Bridgewater Hall, The Morecambe Winter Gardens, and The Royal College of Art. Festivals include The Cork Folk Festival, Music on the Marr, the Aberdeen Rootin’ Aboot festival, Knockengorroch World Ceilidh, The Wickerman, Solfest, Eden, and Tinto festivals, the North Wales Bluegrass Festival, The A1 Roots Festival, Gainsborough Old Time Music Festival, the Dent, Sedbergh and Settle Folk Festivals, and for several years at the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann (The All Ireland Fleadh.)
Recordings include two CD albums, theatre scores and film narration, and his other activities include concert promotion, poetry reading, teaching, and workshops. He has worked as a ceilidh dance caller for over 30 years, with the Devil’s Gallop Ceilidh Band and The Macaroon Ceilidh Band. For four years was Director of the Kendal Folk Festival and the Kendal Jazz Festival.
In addition to his work as an entertainer, he manages two independent record labels: Albany Records (classical/orchestral) and Wildwood Acoustic (folk/world music), together with Wildwood Studios, a small recording studio with rehearsal rooms and a house-concert venue. In 2011 he started The Full Moon Club.
In 1973 he graduated from Birmingham University, with a degree in Drama and Theatre Arts and worked as an actor, musician and stage manager in London, Birmingham and Halifax, before retreating to back to the North of England, where he became the first Centre Director of Lumb Bank, the Arvon Foundation‘s residential centre for writers.
Galvanized by the global ecology movement and the first waves of anxiety about the health of the planet, he moved to the Lake District, where he worked for 7 years as a forestry contactor, hauling timber using heavy draught horses. His first book, One Horsepower, in which he tells the story of that extraordinary adventure, is to be published in October 2020.
One Horsepower: Available here: