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The Maker’s Mark
[the Dream Guitar sessions],

“Tony McManus is the Jeff Beck of the acoustic guitar.” - Paul Reed Smith

“The best celtic guitarist in the world.”
- John Renbourn

On The Maker’s Mark, Scottish guitarist Tony McManus melds two of his great passions, Celtic music and a series of some of the finest acoustic guitars being crafted today. It is an unparalleled mix as McManus’ playing, which has been called “faultless… atmospheric and evocative…” (BBC Radio 2) with “ferocious technique” (The Herald, Scotland), meets it match in the form of fifteen expertly paired instruments, courtesy of North Carolina’s Dream Guitars shop.

Paul Heumiller, who brought his expertise to The Maker’s Mark, started Dream Guitars (along with fingerstyle guitarist extraordinaire Martin Simpson) with a vision of gathering the finest guitars made by the top builders worldwide and offering them all in one place. Dream Guitars has grown into one of the most respected dealerships in the world.

The concept for The Maker’s Mark first unveiled itself during one of McManus’ classes at the Swannanoa Guitar Week. Heumiller was playing the role of student that week and he was turning up each day with “a big smile and a different, brand new, high end guitar”, says McManus. “It emerged that he was not a fabulously wealthy collector but a dealer in the very finest acoustic guitars currently being made - and one who can’t help sharing his enthusiasm.”

On The Maker’s Mark, McManus takes his and Heumiller’s shared excitement for the current state of guitar building one step farther by matching these hand-made instruments with tracks ranging from much-loved and well-known Irish tunes (such as “The Maids of Michelstown” made famous by the Bothy Band), to Scottish airs and reels, to the Spanish influenced piece “Chalaneru”.

A shining example of a musical/instrumental pairing found on is in the tenth track “Doïna/Parov’s Daichevo”. The first tune, written by Beton Fiddler Jacky Molard, was composed in a style of Romanian music most often compared to blues, while the latter tune is a traditional Bulgarian piece. The guitar chosen by McManus and Heumiller on this set is a Sitar Guitar made by Linda Manzer. A Canadian luthier, Manzer has been making guitars for Pat Metheny for the past 25 years. Six flat bone saddle blocks allow the strings to vibrate individually, resulting in a sitar-like sound, earning it a nickname from McManus of “The Dehlicaster”.

Whether on a stage, recording in the studio, or behind a mixing desk, Tony McManus brings a deep respect for traditional music to bear on all he does. McManus was recently voted a “Gold Medal Winner” by the readership of Acoustic Guitar Magazine and tracks from The Makers Mark will be featured along with specially recorded work by McManus on the soundtrack of OSCAR winning director Neil Jordan’s upcoming feature film Ondine starring Colin Farrell and Alicja Bachleda.

Tony McManus PR contact: Stephanie Fields
Tel: + 615.320.7672

Permalink - Posted: February 11, 2009 at 11:01 am