Glasgow-born Celtic guitarist Tony McManus taught himself the guitar at 10, but eventually chose to pursue studies in math, reaching PhD level before going back to his first love of music. In 1994, the Scot started his solo career with a performance during the Glasgow Celtic Connections Festival. His first, self-titled album, which featured a Celtic cover version of Louis Armstrong's What a Wonderful World, was released two years later. In 1998, the guitar virtuoso released the lauded Pourquoi Québec?, a mainly improvised, jazz-influenced album with Quebec pianist Denis Fréchette and French bassist Alain Genty. Between teaching, taking part in guitar instructional videos and producing, McManus released Singing Sands in 2005, followed The Maker's Mark, in 2008.