The musical traditions of Ireland and Scotland have been extended through the singing and tenor banjo playing of Andy M. Stewart. A former member of Silly Wizard, Stewart has continued his musical exploration through several solo albums and recordings with such influential Celtic players as Manus Lunny, Gerry O'Beirne, and ex-Silly Wizard bandmates Phil Cunningham and Martin Hadden. In addition to interpreting the traditional ballads of Ireland and Scotland, and the poetry of Robert Burns, Stewart has composed such original songs as "The Blackbird," "The Queen of Argylle," "Golden, Golden," and "The Ramblin' Rover."
Stewart first attracted attention as a member of Puddock's Well, a band that he formed with fellow students at Blairgowie High School, Martin Hadden, Dougie MacLean, and Kenny Hadden. A tradition-rooted group, Puddock's Well performed throughout the Scottish Highlands and became the house band at a Blairgowie folk club. Their most important performance came as opening act for Scottish folk band, Silly Wizard. Although they balanced day jobs and performances following their high school graduation, the demands on their time proved difficult and the group disbanded. Shortly afterwards, Stewart and Hadden were invited to join Silly Wizard. They remained with the band for 12 years, recording eight albums and touring throughout the world.
During a break from Silly Wizard in 1985, Stewart planned to tour with the band's keyboard and accordion player Phil Cunningham. When an auto accident prevented Cunningham's participation, Stewart enlisted guitar and bouzouki player Manus Lunny. The tour proved so successful that Stewart and Lunny continued to work together for six years. In addition to two duo albums, Stewart and Lunny worked together on Stewart's solo album, At It Again, in 1990, and a trio album with Cunningham, Fire in the Glen, in 1985.
As Lunny became more involved with the Scottish band Capercaillie in the early '90s, Stewart began to work with Irish guitarist and record producer, Gerry O'Beirne. Stewart has supplemented his musical career as a freelance technician for television and film companies in Scotland. ~ Craig Harris