Neil McSweeney (born Irvine, Scotland) is a songwriter and musician based in Sheffield, England. His acoustic guitar playing style combines folk, blues and country influences but it is his voice, likened by The Guardian to a male Tracy Chapman, and his direct and personal lyrics for which he is most recognised.
McSweeney’s debut album, Remember To Smile was released in 2006 by Sheffield independent label, LM Music. Tracks from the album attracted national radio play from BBC Radio 2 and the digital station BBC Radio 6 Music. This led to Postcards being released as a single by Kids Records, the singles arm of Warner Music UK subsidiary 14th Floor Records. Further national radio exposure followed including the track being playlisted by XFM. Around this time Neil also accompanied his friend Stoney both on record, on tour and in session for BBC Radio 2’s Dermot O’Leary at Maida Vale Studios.
Extensive touring in the UK followed before second album, Shoreline emerged in 2009. This was self-released and attracted positive reviews in the national press as well as the attention of fellow Sheffield musician, Richard Hawley. Following support sets at The Crucible in Sheffield and the Royal Festival Hall, McSweeney accompanied Hawley as main support on the European leg of his Truelove’s Gutter tour.
During a hiatus from touring in 2011 and 2012, reportedly to spend more time with his young family, McSweeney developed friendships with musicians from the English folk and roots scene. This developed into collaborations which formed the basis for an EP (The Seventeen EP) and a third full-length album (Cargo) both released in 2013. The album features contributions from Lucy Farrell, Sam Sweeney, Brooks Williams, Matt Boulter, Vera Van Heeringen, Jock Tyldesley, Andy Seward and others.
In Autumn 2013 Neil supported English folk group Bellowhead on their UK tour. He was accompanied by Vera van Heeringen and Sam Sweeney.