Tony McManus: The Maker's Mark
The Maker's Mark: the Dream Guitar Sessions
It’s about voice, the relationship of a musician with his or her instrument. With a singer, that’s easy to see and hear. Without the human voice in the equation, though, listening takes on a different aspect. Tony McManus, gives an eloquent journey into that sort of listening experience as he plays fifteen different instruments through this album. The opportunity to do that resulted from a collaboration between Paul Heumiller, founder of the guitar dealership Dream Guitars, and McManus, who was, when they met, teaching a class at the Swannanoa Gathering, a respected summer music school in North Carolina.
McManus, a Scots native, chose many Celtic based tunes for this project, and as always, he puts is own spin on them. They were recorded in the Compass Sound Studio in Nashville, which is on the upper floor of a building which has seen its own share of music history and atmosphere even before Compass moved in. One has to think that Eric Jaskowiak’s recording and mixing and McManus’ playing added to the legends and the music in the walls of the building not far off Music Row. There are fifteen tracks on the album, with a march, a strathspey, and a reel to start things off, with Irish, Asturian, South African, Cape Breton, Quebec, Scottish, and Romania tunes among those which follow. The liner notes offer lovely photographs of the guitars as well as short descriptions of them, and brief notes on the music, as well. It’s a fine album to play through and let unfold at it’s own pace, a meditative trip through sound and story told with no words. Notable cuts include that opener, which is Inveran/The Devil’s in the Kitchen/Locheil’s Away to France, Muireann’s Jig, which Niall Vallely wrote and Coast River, from Donal Lunny.
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