Brandon McPhee - Button key accordion virtuoso
“The beat of contemporary music never appealed to me.” The twenty-one year old, Wick born, Brandon McPhee says recalling how he got into traditional Scottish music. “Traditional music felt so right and there was never a plan B.” Later this year Brandon McPhee will embark on tour with his unique take on The Sir Jimmy Shand Story, supported by the Brandon McPhee Band and narrated by BBC TV’s David Anderson. In addition he will tour in his own show the Brandon McPhee Show, and as one of the headliners in the Celtic Country Show touring this autumn.
Brandon credits his grandfather, himself a button key accordion player, with introducing the young boy to the instrument. He recalls being ten years of age and picking up the instrument and never looking back. An uncle subsequently spent two years teaching him how to play and then six hours a day practice lead to a recording contract with Pan Records, and performances at the The Mey Highland Games. After a performance at Buckingham Palace Prince Charles was forced to remark: “I don’t know how you move your fingers so fast. It’s quite incredible”.
Of course, peer pressure was never far away, but Brandon stuck to his guns and became more immersed in Scottish Country music. He recorded his first album at 11 years of age (A Starr Is Born). Brandon purchased a second hand accordion from Ireland on which he recorded the album, the iconic 3 row Will Starr’s ‘Shand Morino’ accordion. He then went on to win first place at the Caithness Music Festival on button key accordion, first place in his age group at the Lairg Music Festival and first place in the All Scotland Senior Scottish Accordion Championship.
Robert Cameron of Caithness independent label Pan Records who signed the artist, said: “Brandon has a musical ability way beyond his years. He’s an incredible talent. “I’ve been in this business 50 years and I’ve never seen anybody as good as him. “I’ve shared the same bill as Jimmy Shand but Brandon can do things Jimmy could never do.”
On the album Scottish Champion, Brandon had the high honour of Jimmy Shand’s son, Jimmy Jnr, writing its sleeve notes. Jimmy Jnr still lives in Auchtermuchty in Fife where a statute in his father’s honour is situated.
He took up singing at the age of 16 much influenced by the music of Don Williams, Elvis, Billy Ray Cyrus and Johnny Cash, the latter two, his favourite singers! Although music encompasses much of his time, he likes to dabble in the study of dinosaurs and paleontology.
When asked about the weight of the accordion Brandon laughs. “Yes, it is quite heavy. I used to sit down and play, but these days I stand. It could possibly be the weight lifters’ instrument of the music world. I’ve got shoulders like a swimmer now!”
Band Leader, Lead Accordionist, Singer, Rhythm Guitarist in the Scottish Traditional and Country Music Band Lead Accordionist, Rhythm Guitar and Singer in Country/ Scottish/60s Band ''Manson Grant & the Dynamos'' (been in Music over 50 years)
Recorded Six Scottish Albums
Recorded Two Country Albums
Recorded Three DVDs
Various Promotional Singles & DVD Singles
Recorded his first CD (A Starr is Born) at the age of 11
Music Express (Sky Showcase TV) numerous occasions
BBC Alba as an Artist & Prize Winner numerous occasions
Appeared on BBC Alba - Ceol Country 2012-2015
Hot Country TV Ireland (numerous occasions)
Facebook Hot Country TV Youtube
Also on www.filmon.tv in music section Hot Country Ireland
And Featured Numerous occasions on Wonderful Living TV USA
Featured on Ireland West Music (Sky TV)
Brandon McPhee Show- Scottish &Country featured on Sky
TV and Satellite 1 hour special
STV 6 o'clock News-Special Feature
Featured on Radio Stations Globally as part of Hillcrest Canada
BBC Radio Scotland-Numerous times
BBC Radio Scotland Live Broadcast
BBC Radio Gael-Numerous times
Caithness FM- Numerous times
Moray Firth Radio-Numerous Times
Moray Firth Live Transmit ion to Bluewater Radio, Canada
Played for Aberdeen Council
Hugo Duncan BBC Radio Ulster numerous times
Radio Star Ireland, Fuse FM Ireland,
Birkhall Ball invited guest to play for Prince Charles
Dumfries House – Prince Charles and American Sponsors
Mey Highland Games – Prince Charles
Buckingham Palace – Prince Charles, Camilla and American Sponsors of Dumfries House Trust 10th Anniversary
Local Hero for the opening of the Scottish Parliament as a role model for the youth wanting to learn an instrument – presented in front of the HM Queen when she left the opening of Parliament
Awards & Achievements:
Caithness Music Festival First place 2007 & 2008
Lairg Music Festival 2008 & 2009 under 13s Accordion Solo
Lairg Music Festival under 16s 2010
Lairg Music Festival- Open Accordion 2008 & 2010
Junior Scottish Accordion Champion 2009
Button Box Accordion Open Scottish Champion 2009
The Royal National Mod gold Medallist under 19s -2010
Junior Scottish Accordion Champion 2011
Button Box Accordion Open Scottish Champion 2012,2013 & 2014
Royal National Mod Senior Gold Medallist 2012,2013 & 2014
Scottish Button Box Accordion Champion 2012,2013 & 2014
All Scotland Senior Traditional Accordion Solo Champion 2014
The first time a button key accordion player won the competition in 27 years and the youngest ever to win at the age of 17 winning the Jimmy Shand shield
Guest artist of the year 2012 & 2013 in the National Association of Accordion and Fiddle clubs.
(First time in the Box & Fiddles History the same guest artist voted for 2 consecutive years)
Nominated for CD of the year 2012 & 2013 in the same Association.
Nominated for ''Up and Coming Artist of the Year in the MG Alba Scot Trad Awards.
Debut Vocal single 'Stand' reached number 22 in the European Country Music Charts and played worldwide via Country Music Radio Stations.
Official Acknowledgement by the Scottish Parliament on Brandon’s Achievements and as a role model for the youth of today.
Composed a tune ‘Birkhall Ball’ and played in front of Prince Charles and Camilla at their home in Scotland, Birkhall.
Hot Country TV ‘Johnny Cash Inspirational Award’ for singing 2016
Hot Country TV ‘Accordion Instrumentalist of the Year’ 2017
Caithness Music TV presenter on Keep It Country channel on SKY 389/ Freesat 516/ Freeview 87 every week for the past 2 years and now with a change of name to the Brandon McPhee Hour playing Scottish and Country Music from the North East of Scotland
The Jimmy Shand Story.
Brandon McPhee Show.