In 1963, a borrowed ukelele set the stage for a lifelong musical journey for Mac Walter and John Cronin and specifically a journey into the world of fingerstyle guitar. During the early 60’s, Mac and John played at family gatherings and developed a mutual interest in folk music that resulted in a very strong musical bond between them at a young age. Influenced by folk luminaries such as Doc Watson, Mississippi John Hurt, Dave Van Ronk, Raun MacKinnon and Dick Rosmini, Mac and John as teenagers began forming their own unique musical styles. Even though they eventually settled in different countries, this common bond continued to draw them together and led to their unique musical rapport. Amazingly, 40 years later the “Cousins” album was released and though it was a long time coming, this recording gem was sure worth the wait.
Mac received his musical education at the Berklee College of Music in Massachusetts where he continued developing his unique fingerstyle approach to playing rock, blues, jazz, country and folk. He just couldn’t be pinned down to one musical genre and he is one of those rare players who can do it all. He became a master of the acoustic guitar known for his virtuosity on his instrument. Back in the Washington DC area, Mac joined legendary Boogie Woogie/Jazz/Blues icon Deanna Bogart for an 8 year ride. Playing at jazz and blues festivals all over the world, Mac learned learned to ‘really burn it up! as one reviewer put it and received three WAMMIE’s (Washington Area Music Awards). While touring with Johnny Winter as the opening act, Mac earned the respect of all the musicians because he was the only guitarist they’d ever seen Johnny Winter stand in the wings to see and Johnny told everyone he thought Mac was ‘a really great guitar player.” That meant a lot to Mac since it came from one of his guitar idols. Mac played with other DC legends including Danny Gatton, Roy Buchanan, and Steve Wolf. Deanna nicknamed Mac ‘The Professor’ because of his guitar prowess and knowledge and to this day, people still refer to him by that name.
Adventurous John homesteaded in Alaska before settling in British Columbia. The ruggedness of those areas rubbed off on John and his music acquired the same ruggedness and evolved into a muscular yet sensitive style. John led many bands in BC and quickly fell in love with the Western cowboy flavor of the local music. This led to a 7-year stint with Canadian musical icon, Ian Tyson during which he played to sold out concerts all over Canada and the US. Ian proclaimed John to be the most lyrical guitar player he’d ever heard and that lyrical guitar approach can be heard on many of Ian’s recordings. John also toured with renowned fiddle player Vassar Clements who was especially enamored with John’s original songs. Chesapeake Bay folk icon, Tom Wisner, describes John’s playing as the “heart of the guitar.”
Through their separate journeyman years, the two cousins continued to connect and play gigs. The musical connection developed so early in their lives still worked and both had become ‘guitar whiz’s. Recording a CD became a work of the heart and in 2003, their CD ‘Cousins’ was released to acclaim and a series of sold-out concerts. The CD represents the many musical journeys they have taken down the roads of folk, jazz, country, blues and another road that is a bit undefinable. It’s their own style, their own voice, and the music just works! Both are talented in their own right but when they play together, the acoustic fingerstyle virtuosity and synergy as well as their gorgeous harmonies always leave an audience on their feet and wanting more. Together John and Mac lay down solid grooves overlaid with intricacies that tickle the ear. This CD has been described as ‘ultimately satisfying’ and you will understand why once you listen to it.
In 2006, John and Mac released 'Second Cousins' which is also available for purchase on CD Baby.
Mac and John perform often in the Baltimore/Annapolis/Washington area and have sold out concerts in British Columbia as well.