Music fans are in for a treat as the guitarist returns to his Paisley roots


Renfrewshire music fans are in for a treat as a Buddie star long lost to the international music scene is set to make a comeback.

Guitarist Tony McManus, who is world renowned for playing some of the most prestigious venues from Tokyo and Bogota to Sydney and New York, returns home to his native Paisley and says he can’t wait .

The forced separation has been hard on the local hero, who will make his long-awaited return to Paisley’s Bungalow Bar at the end of this month.

Scheduled to be opened by promising Liverpool virtuoso guitarist Danny Bradley, the May 29 gig is expected to attract fans from all over.

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Multi-award winner Tony, who now lives in Canada, normally tries to get home to visit friends and relatives at least once a year.

But, due to the pandemic, he had a three-year absence, and so this homecoming will be more important than ever for him.

“The pandemic has thrown the whole world on a loop, especially for touring musicians who suddenly found themselves all dressed up and with nowhere to go,” he told the Paisley Daily Express.

“I managed to overcome the trauma of it all, like so many others, by living on Skype and Zoom.

“I have a wonderful network of students all over the world, some even in places I’ve never been – yes, there are still a few!

“I would normally be in Scotland at least once a year and that always involves a trip to Paisley to catch up with my friends and family.

“I missed that more than anything.”

Growing up and going to school in the city, he says he feels a deep connection “that needs to be nurtured on a regular basis” – whether he plays or not.

“There is something heartwarming about standing at The Cross and seeing the Town Hall, the Abbey, the Queen Vic in Dunn Square…memories of walking from Gallowhill to The Silver Thread Hotel to play the folk club at 12, learning my first chords in the school locker room, looking at guitars I couldn’t afford in the window of Cuthbertson’s in Gilmour Street.

“I’m a very proud Buddie, and proud of the contribution the city has made to arts and culture in general.

“Paisley, to me, is friends, family, familiarity, joy. I’m grateful and thrilled to be home.

His latest playing partnership, say some critics, is a match made by angels, the performance virtuoso and often breathtaking.

He first met Julia Toaspern at a concert in his native Berlin, chatted after the show, and found converging musical interests, but from very different starting points.

“Julia was classically trained – both vocals and violin,” he explained.

“We talked about Bach, which she can read in the blink of an eye, whereas I struggle with ‘dots’ and have always learned by ear.

“We kept in touch and played for the first time at one of my gigs in Milan – it was an Irish reel set.

“From there I grew, learning a lot of things that were new and exciting to me – from Brazilian jazz to Italian renaissance music.”

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