John's mandolin playing started in traditional Scottish roots but, after an encounter with Southern States bluegrass and ragtime, has developed into an eclectic and creative style. The blues took the dobro along and he is rarely be seen on stage without his faithful guitar, dobro and mandolin. He is also one of the few harmonica players to use the standard cross harp to play in the relative minor, giving melodies a haunting, Eastern European sound. He often uses the guitar to harmonise with the harmonica. From their early days John and David Fitzpatrick have formed a strong, balanced and original song-writing partnership, crafting each song as a story (and sometimes more than one) in a nutshell.
After escaping notoriety, retiring to the middle of nowhere and some time spent cultivating his own patch working on solo projects, musical collaborations generated by the release of his latest CD 'sleekit slivers' convinced John that working with other interesting musicians was worth another shot. With the Humpff and alone he has had numerous TV and Radio slots all over the world. He
has Played Celtic Connections, Belladrum, T-in the Park and festivals in Strathaven, Stonehaven, Partick, Strathpeffer, Fort William, Girvin, Ayr, Arran, Aberdeen, Orkney, Shetland, Barra, Newcastle, Pointon, St Nazair, Eindhoven, L’orion, Englemunster, Haugesund, Tondor, Aalborg, Shrewsbury, Gloucester, Bath, even Shetland on a few occasions! After 'In the Family Way'
(1989), 'Fathers' (1992) and 'Mothers' (1994), he has released a solo CD “...living in hope...”
(2007), and 'sleekit sliver' (2014) with his first band in a decade, which has been well received with much airplay.
When not agonising on the right word for a lyric, editing videos, carefully sanding the teeth of one
of his many harmonicas to get it back in tune, or playing his mandolin fast and furious, John can
be found swimming his daily 60 lengths or tending to his windowsill herbs plantation.