A masterful Scottish guitarist plays a show on Vashon

Tony McManus has been listed as one of the 50 most transcendent guitarists ever by Guitar PlayerMagazine.

Master Scottish guitar player Tony McManus will perform at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 11, at the Vashon Havurah, at 15401 Westside Hwy SW.

Hailed by John Renbourn as “the best Celtic guitarist in the world,” Tony McManus has also been listed as one of the 50 most transcendent guitarists of all time by Guitar Player Magazine.

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 world, along with still further-ranging flavors 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 acknowledged as a pioneering figure in bridging the realms of Celtic music and other guitar genres.

Born in 1965 in Paisley, Near Glasgow, McManus was introduced to traditional music via the family record collection. He took up the guitar at age 10. After making his name as an accompanist, he took the solo plunge with a main stage debut on the final night of the inaugural Celtic Connections festival in 1994, supporting Capercaillie in front of a 2500-strong crowd.

In a relatively short time, his music has come to define a new role for the guitar in Celtic music. He has represented Celtic music in the guitar world, making regular appearances at festivals such as the Chet Atkins Festival in Nashville and the Ellnora Festival in Illinois, as well as festivals in Italy, Australia, France, Scotland, England, and Germany. He performed at the famous Ryman Auditorium in Nashville in the “All-Star Guitar Night” featuring Steve Morse, Bryan Sutton, Muriel Anderson, Béla Fleck and Victor Wooten, and headlined by the legendary Les Paul.

McManus is also a signature artist for PRS Guitars, in Maryland, and has performed at its venue with Carlos Santana, among others. These days McManus has a busy schedule, touring, writing about Celtic guitar, and teaching workshops and lessons.

Find out more at tonymcmanus.com.

A $20 to $25 cash donation is suggested for the concert, with all proceeds going to the musician. Reservations are encouraged — call or email janstrolle@comcast.net or 206-228-0730. Doors will open at 7 p.m.