Hailed by John Renbourn as “the best Celtic guitarist in the world” Tony McManus has been listed as one of the 50 transcendent guitarists of all time by Guitar Player Magazine. Conjuring a unique but universal language from that most ubiquitous of instruments, the acoustic guitar, Tony McManus has both extended and transcended the parameters of contemporary Celtic music. Ranked by peers and predecessors alike alongside the guitar world’s all-time greats, his fiendishly dexterous, dazzlingly original playing draws on traditions from the entire Celtic diaspora – Scotland, Ireland, Brittany, Galicia, Asturias, Cape Breton, Quebec – along with still further-ranging flavours, such as jazz and eastern European music. Long applauded for his uncanny ability to transpose the delicate, complex ornamentation characteristic of traditional bagpipe or fiddle tunes – even the phrasing of a Gaelic song – onto his own six strings, McManus is increasingly being acknowledged also as a pioneering figure in bridging the realms of Celtic music and other guitar genres.
Tony has since worked with, among many others, Dougie McLean, Phil Cunningham, Liam O’Flynn, Martin Simpson, Kevin Burke, Alison Brown, Natalie MacMaster, and Mairead ní Mhoanaigh. He has been invited to not only Folk and Celtic Festivals, but also guitar specific Festivals around the world in Italy, France, Australia, and the UK, and has been invited annually to the Chet Atkins Festival in Nashville. Tony has performed and taught at the Ellnora Guitar Festival in one of Illinois’s most prestigious venues, the Krannert Center, with the likes of Pat Metheny, Kaki King, Molly Tuttle, and Steve Dawson. He is a signature artist for PRS Guitars in Maryland, and has performed at their venue with Carlos Santana, among others.