The Maker’s Mark
Compass 7-4500-2

Tony McManus has long been a guitar-player’s guitarist, a musician who matches skill to an intuitive sense of how to go beyond the notes and shape a tune to the atmosphere at hand. On his latest recording he’s become a guitar- builder’s guitarist. It’s fifteen tracks and fifteen different guitars on an album appropriately subtitled The Dream Guitar Sessions. Although many of us would lie, cheat, and steal to lay hands on any one of these magnificent instruments McManus plays, each is particularly glorious in his capable hands. True to the theme McManus opts for a quiet album, its dreamy ambience enhanced by ringing harmonics and such a heavy emphasis on treble notes that the bass runs smack like a heavy right cross following a series of light jabs. There’s a bit of everything here—a cover of a Bothy Band favorite (“The Maids of Mitchelstown”), some Romanian music by way of Québec (“Parov’s Daichevo”), a touch of Spanish flair (“Chalareru”), a dash of Italian melody (“Si Dolce è’l Tormento”), loads of Scottish and Irish favorites, and a 12-string Québeçois finale (“Valse des Bélugas”). This is a perfect album for background music, close listening, or picker’s envy.--LV

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