Born in 1971 in Beckenham, England, Richard started early and first picked up the guiar at the age of 5 with his father teaching him his first chords and songs. After some early solo performances and six years of working as a trio with two of his brothers, Rob and Sam in the 90's, Richard moved to Nashville, TN. in January 2000,
In 2001 he won the national fingerpicking championship and has since forged a career as a solo artist, performing all over the USA, Canada, UK, Europe, Australia and Brazil, releasing solo records, duet and ensemble records.
Constantly touring with a repertoire of fingerpicking classics, originals, fiddle tunes, blues, Joplin rags, jazz standards, classical repertoire and everything from pop to Sousa marches, Richard has also performed or recorded along the way with Chet Atkins, Les Paul, Tommy Emmanuel, Suzy Bogguss, Steve Wariner, Jimmy Fortune, Earl Klugh, Martin Taylor, Joscho Stephan, Sam Bush, Stuart Duncan, John Schneider, Lee Roy Parnell, Brent Mason, Rory Hoffman and a host of others.
“The most amazing guy I know on the guitar. He can play anything I know, only better.”
Chet Atkins, CGP (music legend)
“If you like my playing, you should hear Richard Smith! The world champion!”
Tommy Emmanuel, CGP (two-time Grammy nominee)
“Guitar playing at its finest. Don’t miss this one.”
Doyle Dykes (thumbpicking wizard)
“He is one of the world’s greatest guitarists.”
Muriel Anderson (All-Star Guitar Night)
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.