Chris Swinney

Chris was born into a working class background. His father was a coal miner and his mother was a hard working housewife, the way it was for many back in the late 1950s.

Scremerston near Berwick-upon-Tweed, was where it all began but before Chris was two years old, The Blackhill Colliery where his father worked was closing and the Swinney family moved to Shilbottle near Alnwick in Northumberland, England where the coal mine was thriving.

Chris spent a lot of his early years listening to the radio, particularly the U.K. charts on BBC Radio 1 and Radio Luxembourg late at night in bed, where he'd sing along to the hits at the top of his voice.

Around the age of twelve, Chris took a huge interest in The Beatles and decided that playing guitar was the thing for him. After a short time playing a classical guitar which he struggled with, his parents bought him his first steel strung acoustic guitar manufactured by Kay. His guitar tutor became The Beatles Complete Songbook and he worked his way through it until he had learnt most of his favourites.
His recording set up back then was one microphone and a cassette recorder and his first taste of sound on sound recording was when he used two cassette recorders to enable him to sing harmonies with himself (and build up lots of hiss and noise in his recordings!).
Chris also bought his first electric guitar in the early 1970s from the music shop in his home town of Berwick-upon-Tweed; a black Avon Les Paul copy. This was accompanied by a 15 watt WEM guitar combo.

By the age of 16, Chris was performing gigs at his local pubs and clubs. He spent some time with one or two bands but was more at home playing solo. It was around this time that Chris became interested in writing his own songs.

Chris met Berny in 1977 at one of the local pubs where he used to play and in 1978 they were married. In 1979 they upped sticks and moved from Northumberland to Harrogate, North Yorkshire due to lack of work in their area.
Chris continued to play occasional gigs and worked with bands around Harrogate but few got past the rehearsal stage.

However primitive those two early cassette players were, the enjoyment of being able to build the parts for a song always stayed with Chris and, in the first half of the 1980s, he bought his first four-track cassette recorder, a Tascam Porta One. From then on, he was well and truly hooked on writing and recording his own songs and was rarely seen performing live, except for the occasional one or two songs in his local pub.

Chris used his new recording machine to record demos which he could submit to publishers and sent off a huge amount of tapes in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Due to this, many of his songs were assigned to publishers but despite lots of positive feedback, none resulted in any of Chris's songs being covered by artists.

With the advent of the CD recorder and the digital multi-track, in 2000 Chris decided to put some of his favourite recordings together on one CD entitled, "First".

In November 2002, Chris and Berny made the move back to north Northumberland, just a few miles from where Chris was born.

Chris was submitting very little to publishers by this time and decided to concentrate on writing and recording a new album. Many of the tracks were to be inspired by his own personal experiences and feelings. In 2004, "Was it something I said?", was released and it wasn't long before Chris was back in the studio writing and recording again for his next CD, "Major 3rd", which became available in 2006.

Early in 2009, Chris released his fourth album, "Try this at home".

May 2011 saw the release of a 5 track EP, "Five for 5", which is only available through www.chrisswinney at present.

In 2013, Chris completed an album inspired by the story of the Blackhill Pit closure near Berwick-upon-Tweed in 1959, and the campaign by the workers to try and save their jobs. The album is called "Blackhill... and Back", and it also features five extra new tracks.

All of Chris Swinney's first four albums are available through his website at www.chrisswinney, www.cdbaby, iTunes and many other download websites.

Copyright © 2007-2014 Chris Swinney

Screen name:
Chris Swinney
Member since:
Jun 18 2006
Active over 1 month ago
Level of commitment:
Very Committed
Years playing music:
Gigs played:
10 to 50
Tend to practice:
More than 3 times per week


The Beatles, Del Amitri, Michael Penn, ELO, Ron Sexsmith, Tom Petty, Al Stewart, Matthew Sweet, Steven Page, Eric Stewart.

Instrument experience:

Rhythm Guitar:
Acoustic Guitar:
Background Singer:
Lead Guitar:
Bass Guitar: