Our Story

The Water Runners hail from South Coast NSW and have become a popular act at pubs, clubs, festivals and other events in the Illawarra, Shoalhaven, the Snowy's, Far South Coast, Sydney and beyond. We play a high energy blend of original, bluegrass-infused Australian folk that also draws on country, roots and traditional folk.

John Littrich (guitar, vocals, harmonica) and Neil McCann (banjo, mandolin, backing vocals) have played in various bands and made music together for  nearly 20 years. Together with their friend Paul McGee they have received many top 10 ASA song writing awards and were thrilled when UNICEF used their song "Turn Down The Heat"to promote the State of the World Children's Report. Neil formerly played with Australian folk legends, Wongawilli. On percussion and vocals, Dom Littrich (usually busy behind the kit in popular South Coast rockers, Pacific Avenue) keeps things bouncing along together with the talented youngster, Clayton Condon, on double bass.  In 2017, we were joined by Danita Harris on violin and sweet vocals. Danita has played in various bands including folk roots band Strung6teen and, more recently, the Garth Brooks Tribute Show. In mid July 2019 Clayton got his wish and was called up to the army to work with helicopters! Fortunately, Gerringong double bass legend, James Turk, has been able to step into the breach and take up where Clayton left off.

We have played at numerous festivals such as the Perisher Peak Festival, Kiama Folk By the Sea, Kiama Jazz and Blues, Kiama KISS ARTS Festival, Illawarra Folk Festival, Viva la Gong, Jamberoo Music Festival, Kangaroo Valley Folk Festival, Sydney Folk Festival, Folk by the Sea and, in November 2019, Majors Creek. We have supported  international acts including Scotland's The Elephant Sessions and the USA's Chris Henry and the Hardcore Grass. We have played for the South Sydney Folk Club and The Troubadour Folk Club at Woy Woy and have played at pubs and other venues up and down the East coast including the Servo at Port Kembla and the Tathra Hotel. We have a host of festivals coming up and can't wait to play at Tamworth Country Music Festival in Jan 2020.

Our EP, Too Young To Be This Old, was released in 2016, followed by our first album, Heading South, in early 2017. The Water Runners have twice been runners up in the Illawarra Folk Festival Song competition and in in 2018 received a Kiama Council Cultural Grant to help with the recording of a new album incorporating songs based on local stories. That album,  Point of No Return, recorded at Kangaroo Valley under the guiding hand of Australian bluegrass legend, John Kane, was finished in January 2019,  launched in April 2019 and can be purchased from this website.

The Water Runners sing songs of bushrangers, Aboriginal warriors, grisly murders and ghostly tales...as well as the odd song about love and, of course, love gone wrong. We look forward to bringing our special blend of music to somewhere near you soon. In the meantime, we'll be trying to write more songs, hanging out at festivals...and tuning the banjo!

Awards and Achievements

John Littrich, Neil McCann, Paul McGee.

2010 ASA songwriters’ award. 8th place in Songs for Children Category with Rockalot.

2010 ASA songwriters’ award. 6th place in Australian Category with Lest We Forget.

2010 Commissioned to write an album of songs for the Illawarra Children’s Services Blast Off.

2011 UNICEF State of the World’s Children Report Used Turn down the Heat to promote.

2011 ASA songwriters’ award. 8th place in Australian Category with Australia Remembers.

2011 ASA songwriters’ award. 9th place in Songs for Children Category with Happy Mother’s Day.

2012 ASA songwriters’ award. 10th place in Spiritual Category with Five Thousand People.

2012 ASA songwriters’ award. 2nd place in Songs for Children Category with Father’s Day.

2014 ASA songwriters’ award. 5th place Australian Category with John Simpson Kirkpatrick.

2016 Tamworth Songwriters Association Award Semi-finalist Anzac Song of the Year for Mothers Arms.

John Littrich and Neil McCann

2017 Tamworth Songwriters Associations Award Semi-finalist Alt Country/Roots/Bluegrass section for Kate Kelly's Dream

2017 Illawarra Folk Festival Song Writing Competition. 2nd Place with Too Young To Be This Old

2018 Illawarra Folk Festival Song Writing Competition. 2nd Place with Pemulwuy

2018 Kiama Council Cultural Grant