James MacLean

Cape Breton

A native of East Lake Ainslie, Inverness County, James MacLean has been playing music for more than 15 years. It was in his late teens, when he started lessons with Cape Breton guitarist Brian Doyle, that his love for traditional Cape Breton music began to blossom. After high school James decided to pursue a degree in music, and under the tutelage of Scott Macmillan, earned his Bachelor of Music from Dalhousie University in 2015. James released his debut, self-titled album in 2018 with support from the Festival Volunteer Drive’ers Association through The Frank “Big Sampie” Sampson award. Comprised of traditional Cape Breton tunes played on a flat-picked guitar, the album features accompaniment from some of Cape Breton’s finest musicians including Mac Morin, Patrick Gillis, Kenneth MacKenzie, and his aunt Karen Beaton. James continues to develop his picking style by emulating some of Cape Breton’s finest fiddlers as well as legendary guitarist Dave MacIsaac. His unique guitar accompaniment has also been in high demand and he can be heard playing with various fiddlers all around the Island. James will be busy during this year’s Festival accompanying pipes and fiddle, playing on his own, and as part of a guitar duo.

Back to Top