A former medical student who was bitten by the performing bug, Jim McCann has enjoyed a 40-year career in music. His way into performing started with his love of rock & roll, specifically Buddy Holly and Eddie Cochran (whose tours of the British Isles were major events of the late '50s). He discovered folk music in the early '60s and made the switch while working in England, returning to Ireland and joining the Dublin-based trio the Ludlows. Following their breakup in 1967, he worked on stage in Gaels of Laughter, a distinctly Irish (as its name would strongly hint) revue. He also began singing in clubs in Ireland and England and embarked on a solo recording career, cutting an initial pair of albums in the early '70s.
He later was asked to sit in with the Dubliners as a fill-in member, subbing for Ciaran Bourke, and later replaced Ronnie Drew on a permanent basis. He remained with the group until 1979 and then resumed his solo career, which also included stage work as well. He's enjoyed several decades' worth of hits as a recording artist, including a 36-week chart run for his single "Grace." In addition to local and international appearances on his own, McCann has also performed with such renowned English folkies as Ralph McTell, and shared the stage with Enya and Clannad at festivals.