Glen MacNeil
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Glen MacNeil

Tecumseh, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | SELF

Tecumseh, Ontario, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2015
Solo Folk Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos




ReGaeling us with music
by Julie Marentette | |

Glen Mac Neil and Mark Crampsie’s musical recipe consists of folk, a dash of country, a pinch of pop and some Celtic flavouring to give it that litttle something extra. Then simmer it all on a Cape Breton flame. When you put it all together you dish up ReGael - featuring Irish & Canadian music.

ReGael, made up of Glen MacNeil and Mark Crampsie, will be entertaining us on the main stage of the Corn Fest, this year, on Thursday, August 25 at 7 p.m.

For Glen, this will be his second time performing at the Tecumseh Corn Festival.

MacNeil grew up on Cape Breton Island amidst a musical family that was host to many kitchen parties. That influence stayed with him when he moved to Ontario - he has been a resident of Tecumseh for eight years.

- Tecumseh Tribune

"Writing For a distant Home"

By Cheryl Turner

Glen MacNeil has been a musician for most of his life. Born into a family steeped in the musical traditions of Cape Breton, Canada, ."

Glen began playing the guitar seriously around the age of 10. While growing up in Glencoe Station, a small community in Cape Breton, his home was host to no small number of parties. These infamous house parties (or, more likely than not, kitchen parties) are a deep-rooted tradition on the island, and responsible in part for perpetuating the island's musical traditions. Glen believes that "it is extremely important to be exposed to the music at an early age for it to continue." If it weren't for these parties, Glen says, "a lot of children wouldn't get to hear the music first hand. That is where it starts -- when you are young. A passion is developed and that passion must be nurtured in order for the music to carry on."

This is certainly true in Glen's case. Through these kitchen parties, or ceilidhs, Glen developed a love for singing and playing, and soon began composing his own material. "I wrote my first song at 15 shortly after I joined my first band, Marauder. ... I also played in a country group called Cape Breton Country." After high school, Glen graduated from Halifax Regional Vocational school before moving to Windsor, Ontario, where there is a vibrant community of Cape Bretoners who have transplanted their culture along with them. "In the Windsor/Detroit area there are ceilidhs all the time at people's homes. It is mostly Cape Bretoners who moved to this area many years ago and kept the music alive."

Glen does his fair share in keeping the music alive as well. After moving to Windsor, he began attending "open mic" nights, and he performed some of his own songs for the first time. "The reaction was great" he says, "and inspired me to keep writing." And that's just what he did. "After I was confident that I had some material that I wanted the public to hear, I formed a band called Common Ground. We recorded an album called War of the World. From this album we released a song called "Eastbound Train," which first hit the airwaves on CIGO Radio in Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia."

Having a song of his own performed on the radio is a songwriter's dream, Glen recalls. "''Eastbound Train' was in medium rotation on CIGO for about six months. Very exciting! Unfortunately, the band broke up shortly after." Since then, Glen has continued to write and perform on his own, as well as venturing into some collaborative efforts.

Glen's main focus is writing, a process he admits is hard to categorize. "There is nothing typical about this crazy process of songwriting," he says. "That is why I love it so much! You never know where the next idea will come from. That's why I find it so intriguing -- there's nothing planned when you depend upon inspiration." Does he always have to be inspired in order to write a song? "Usually, I have to be inspired ... But I guess if I look back and go over the songs I have written, the best have come from something that has moved me or affected me in some way. I have written songs just for the sake of writing and I wasn't too happy with the outcome."

So, which comes first, Glen's lyrics or his music? "I would have to say mostly the words do. After I write some words down, I look them over and I usually feel a mood from them. I'll get a sense of a ballad or an up-tempo song." It isn't until he has a sense of the lyrics that he decides what style of song he is writing, he adds. "I just write the song and then I might say, 'Well, you know, this one sounds kinda country!' ... The overall arrangement and feel of the song will determine the song's classification. ...When I start a song, I have NO idea where it will end up. But that's what I like about it -- the unknown."

Glen doesn't always write by himself. Recently, he began collaborating with other writers. "In the beginning, I didn't think I wanted to ever collaborate. I admit it was narrow-minded thinking on my part but I didn't know any better either! Now I think it's great." However, "it's definitely important for me to have a good working relationship with people I write with. I've only written with a handful of people and they are either good friends of mine or my brothers. We have fun creating together. If it gets to be work, then we probably won't do it anymore. It has to be fun."

Collaboration can mean anything from one person coming up with lyrics and another adding music, to a group of people sharing the creative process. Glen describes "Cape Breton's Crying" as "the ultimate collaboration. ... One person came up with the initial melody, another had some words, another came up with the music for the chorus and another came up with the bridge and so on. So I guess collaboration can differ much more than writing by yourself." This song has just been released on well-known Cape Breton musician Cyril MacPhee's new album Back on Track, and Glen couldn' - Rambles

"Red Shoe Pub"

Back in March, I interviewed Glen MacNeil, a singer-songwriter from Cape Breton, now living in Windsor, Ontario. Since chatting with Glen, I had been looking for a chance to hear him perform. One of his songs, "Cape Breton's Crying," appears on well-known Cape Breton musician Cyril MacPhee's new CD, and it immediately became one of my favorites. So, when I heard that Glen would be playing at Mabou's Red Shoe Pub along with his brother Keith and co-writer Russell Deveaux, I decided to make a trip to the other side of the island to hear them.

Well, notwithstanding the fact that I had to be at work a mere three hours after the crowd finally dispersed, this is a group that I would definitely see again. The crowd -- myself included -- was gripped by their performance from start to finish. Not only does these guys know how to play what people want to hear, but they provided a well-polished performance filled with variety and enough energy to power a small nuclear plant! And considering how often the trio plays together (maybe twice a year), this is remarkable in itself. If I hadn't known better, I'd swear that they perform together every night of the week!

Mabou, a small village on the west coast of Cape Breton Island, is teeming with musical talent -- such greats as the Rankin family, Buddy MacMaster, Glenn Graham and Natalie MacMaster come from the small towns which dot the coast -- and it wouldn't be unheard of to find one of them playing at the Red Shoe on any given night. The pub itself is pleasing in its simplicity. Rather rustic looking with wood decor, the small stage rests along one wall, and the open concept ensures that performers can be heard wherever one chooses to wander. The pub seems to be simply made for music, and really comes alive during a performance.

In fact, "alive" is an excellent word to describe Glen, Keith and Russell's performance at the Red Shoe. Thankfully, I arrived early at the pub for Thursday's traditional wing night. By 8 p.m., the place was absolutely jam-packed with eager fans, although the show didn't start until 9. Among the crowd were many locals, happy that Glen was home for a visit, and clamouring to hear him play. I also encountered guests from Newfoundland, Ontario and New York, and as far away as Scotland and Australia.

I would have thought that such a diverse audience would be tough to please, but in the capable hands of this band, such was not the case at all. They immediately picked up on the fact that most everyone's goal was to have some fun, which is exactly what they made the night.

The trio, consisting of Glen MacNeil (lead vocals, guitar), Keith MacNeil (lead guitar, backing vocals) and Russell Deveaux (guitar), belted out three good length sets of songs. To begin with, I was quite impressed by the sheer variety that they had to offer. For the most part, they played east coast favorites, such as "Sonny's Dream," "Out on the Mira" and "Farewell to Nova Scotia," which were appreciated and well received by the crowd. They also played a bunch of traditional Irish pub tunes, putting their own energetic spin on things, most notably in the upbeat version of "Danny Boy." A couple of well-played Great Big Sea covers sent the audience into a frenzy, and they rounded out their selections with some rock songs. Basically, they played something for everyone!

Glen's strong, clear vocals were well-matched with Keith's harmonies and the complementary mix of finger-picking, chording and rhythms on the guitars made for a very strong and cohesive overall sound. Keith really shone on guitar, often finger-picking the melodies and playing with typical Cape Breton style expression. Glen has a fantastic voice, well-suited to the material, and ably adjusting to different genres of music. Russell and Glen have a clear talent for songwriting as well, as evidenced in the original songs the band performed. "Cape Breton's Crying" will appeal to anyone who has fallen in love with the island, and the upbeat "Celtic Pride" and "Eastbound Train" with their catchy tunes were both adored by the folks in Red Shoe.

One of the highlights of the night was the band's playing of Jimmy Rankin's new release "Followed Her Around." This is the first single from Rankin's long-awaited debut solo album, Song Dog, which had just been released two days previous. The fact that Jimmy Rankin hails from Mabou no doubt inspired the frenetic reaction from the crowd -- no fewer than three notes into the song, the locals went wild with delight! Glen's vocals certainly did justice to the song, and once again, if I hadn't known better, I'd have thought they'd been playing it for years!

When it finally came time for the performance to end, you could feel the electricity in the room from the crowd. With a standing ovation and cries of "more," the MacNeils and Deveaux returned the stage for an encore that lasted upwards of a half an hour. Eventually, the lights were dimmed, things wound down - Rambles


Compilation CD released on May 25, 2012 to celebrate the bicentennial of the War of 1812. The CD is titled 'Reflections ON 1812'. Glen's song is titled 'Detroit Coming Down' - a song inspired by the Capture of Fort Detroit.

2010 - EP - 'Courage To Believe' - Tecumseh International Dragon Boat theme song.

2010 - Single - 'You Gave Me Life' - Bone Marrow Awareness campaign.

2009 - Single - 'Chase Your Dreams' - theme song for the Summer Games in Windsor, Ontario.

2006 - a loving tribute album was produced for one of Glen's personal heroes and a true inspiration - John Allan Cameron. It is a two-disc CD called "Yes! Let's hear it for John Allan Cameron" A song he co-wrote with his two brothers and a couple of good friends called "Cape Breton's Crying" is on the two-disc set. The song is performed by Cyril MacPhee.
Go to to purchase the two-disc set. There is some great music on there from many of John Allan's friends.

2005 - 'Just Imagine' - Tribute to Terry Fox.

2004 - ReGael - "Coastlines"

- " a collection of traditional, contemporary and original songs certain to satisfy...the lyrics taking the listener coast to coast in scope and vision"- Inverness Oran.

- "The coastlines of Ireland and Eastern Canada come together on this CD. Contemporary and traditional folk songs along with some original songs from Glen and Mark". - Inverness Oran

1995 - Common Ground - "War Of The World"
- An album of original songs penned by Glen - "music deeply rooted in the Maritimes" - Bob MacEachern, 101.5 FM The Hawk Radio - Port Hawkesbury N.S.



Like a conversation with an old friend, Glen MacNeil says all the right words with his artfully crafted expressions of everyday emotions often left unspoken. Glens melodies sail above waves of anchored guitar work, providing the perfect vessel for riding the tides of life; relationships, family, work, and real stories in song. Glen explores the weaknesses that make us strong, discovering the ordinary miracles happening right before our eyes. Glen's debut solo album 'Where The Heart Remains' is available now.

Booking info:
Phone: 519-991-7063