The One About the Time When Tony McManus
and Dream Guitars Made an Award-Winning Album

In many ways, Dream Guitars is not just about buying and selling amazing stringed instruments. Sometimes, we help make music. In fact, we feel that the Tony McManus album, “The Maker’s Mark: The Dream Guitars Sessions,” may have been our finest moment.

Here’s how it all went down…

A few years ago, Dream Guitars’ top dog Paul Heumiller was at the Swannanoa Gathering, which included a week of playing, meeting other musicians and generally having a blast with amazing music in the background. There, Paul met the Celtic steel-string legend and the two hit it off in a big way. As the week drew to a close, Paul made Tony an offer he couldn’t refuse.

“Next time you make an album,” Paul said, “let me know and I’ll bring a bunch of [Dream] guitars.”

Tony called a few months later, and Paul quickly found himself loading up the car with 19 guitars before driving out from Weaverville, NC, to Nashville, Tenn., and the famed Compass Records recording studio, where all of the Outlaws music was recorded, a studio that had welcomed Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Hank Williams.

“What a great vibe,” Paul explained.

For a week, Paul prepped guitars and Tony made music with several guitars, including a Greenfield, a Wingert, and a Matsuda, among others, which he selected not only because of the sound but that Tony believed that each luthier’s guitar was the right instrument for a specific song and its character.

The result of this magical week was Tony’s album, “The Maker’s Mark: The Dream Guitars Sessions.” You can find the album in our Dream Guitars shop by clicking here. “Maker’s Mark” is also available on Amazon. Paul feels strongly that this is “one of the finest solo guitar records ever” because of Tony’s expert selection process.

Each unique musical piece brings tonal variety. For the final track, “Valse de Belugas,” or “Waltz of the Belugas,” Tony used all 19 guitars and added a beautiful, 12-string Veillette Gryphon.

For the record, Acoustic Guitar Magazine has said this about Tony and his music: “Few guitarists can present Celtic music with the gusto and nuance they possess when played on fiddles or bagpipes. Tony McManus is one of those few.”

The album won the Canadian Folk Music Award in the solo instrumental category that year, and we at Dream Guitars remain as proud now as we were then.

Tony has also just released his latest recording entitled “Mysterious Boundaries.” You can check it out by visiting Tony’s website.

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