Originally from Dublin, and a longtime resident of Asheville, N.C., John Doyle is a compelling singer and songwriter, producer, multi-Grammy nominee, and an extraordinary master of the Irish guitar whose singular percussive style has influenced a generation of players. A founding member of the acclaimed group Solas, John’s guitar sound took the traditional music world by storm and has likely forever influenced the role of guitar in Irish music. John regularly performs solo, in duos, groups, and has been the choice guitarist for the likes of Joan Baez, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Linda Thompson, Jerry Douglas, The Alt, Usher’s Island, Liz Carroll, Eileen Ivers, Tim O’Brien, Michael McGoldrick, John McCusker, Alison Brown, Mick Moloney, Kate Rusby, and a host of other world class performers in America and abroad. John’s duo recording, Double Play, with the great Chicago fiddler and previous National Heritage Fellowship recipient, Liz Carroll, received a 2009 Grammy Nomination for Best Traditional World Album. That same year, John and Liz performed for President Obama, Vice-President Biden, and Congress. John has been featured on over 130 recordings of traditional Irish, folk, old time, and bluegrass music, many of which he produced, including 2016 National Heritage Fellowship recipient Billy McComiskey’s Outside the Box. He has performed at every major folk, bluegrass, and Irish festival in the U.S., Canada, and Europe, some on numerous occasions, as well as on NPR’s A Prairie Home Companion, E-Town, Mountain Stage, and World Cafe.
Having been long established as the premier guitarist in traditional Irish and Irish/American music, John showcased his acclaimed talent as a songwriter in the traditional genre on a 2011 CD, Shadow and Light. He has the rare ability to pen new songs that for all the world sound decades or hundreds of years old and are well on their way to becoming standards in the Irish folk canon. He makes seemingly ancient subjects such as the Irish experience of deportation, war on the battlefields of old, ship disasters, and unrequited love seem riveting and relevant. John’s reputation as a generous, patient, and encouraging producer of new and established artists alike often finds him at the helm of several recording projects at once. Likewise, he yearly commits himself to several weeks of teaching in his efforts to encourage young and older players alike, and his classes are consistently sold out.
Though he could no doubt play and record with any of the world’s best acoustic musicians of any genre, and often does, John’s heart is always in the traditional music of Ireland and its diaspora in America and beyond.
2005, 2011, 2019 | Recipient of the Irish Artist in America Award