The latest offering from guitar wizard Tony McManus, now based in Canada and working with some of North America's top musicians.
Featuring instruments made by Brian Applegate, Marc Beneteau, Michael Greenfield, Charles Hoffman, William Kelday, Randy Lucas, Michihiro Masuda, Linda Manzer, Lance McCollom, Paul McGill, Paul Reed Smith, Bill Tippin, Jeff Traugott, Joe Veillette and Kathy Wingert.
The Maker's Mark was born of an idea hatched at the 2007 Swannanoa Gathering USA, where Tony McManus and Dream Guitars owner Paul Heumiller first met. Paul and Tony were chatting about how the instruments being built today are simply the finest instruments ever known and Paul suggested that Tony do an album using the various guitars that Dream Guitars offer.
Tony loved the idea and so a new album was planned, using a different Dream Guitars instrument on every track. It was recorded at the Compass Records studio in Nashville and the content is a mix of Celtic traditional music, Americana, Jazz and other styles.
To find a unique voice on so ubiquitous an instrument as the acoustic guitar is quite an achievement - to do so within a centuries-old idiom where the instrument has no real history is truly remarkable. In little over ten years as a professional musician Tony McManus has come to be recognised throughout the world as one of the leading guitarists in Celtic music.
From early childhood, his twin obsessions of traditional music and acoustic guitar have worked together to produce a startlingly original approach to this ancient art. In Tony's hands the complex ornamentation normally associated with fiddles and pipes are accurately transferred to guitar in a way that preserves the integrity and emotional impact of the music.
Tony has recorded three solo albums (one with bassist Alain Genty) and a notable album with fiddler Alasdair Fraser, as well as many other collaborations. His Ceol More album hit the Critic's Album Of The Year list in Acoustic Guitar magazine and was named Album Of The Year at the Live Ireland Awards. In 2009 Tony won Acoustic Guitar Magazine's Gold Award in the Celtic Guitarist category, a reader's poll.
"To be left in a room with $175,000 worth of guitars is a bit of a kid in a candy store situation, but they were put to good use..."