Cousins - Mac Walter and John Cronin



John Cronin and Mac Walter

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 music 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. Recording a CD became a labor of love and amazingly, 40 years later, their “Cousins” album was released. Though it was a long time coming, this recording gem was sure worth the wait. Two years later, they put out “Second Cousins” much to the delight of their fans.

Mac received his musical education at the Berklee College of Music in Boston where he continued developing his unique fingerstyle approach to playing rock, blues, jazz, country and folk. He just refused to be pinned down to one musical genre and is one of those rare musicians who can do it all. Back in the Washington DC area, Mac hitched up with legendary Boogie Woogie, Jazz and Blues icon Deanna Bogart for an 8 year ride during which the band released 3 CDs on the Flying Fish, Blind Pig, and Jimmy Buffett Margaritaville record labels. They headlined jazz and blues festivals all over Europe and the US. Mac also played with other DC legends including Danny Gatton, Roy Buchanan and Grace Griffith. No less than Johnny Winter has called Mac 'a really great guitar player.'

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 time John toured extensively throughout Canada and the US as the lead guitarist in Ian’s band. Ian proclaimed John to be ‘a highly lyrical guitarist.’ John’s guitar approach can be heard on several of Ian’s recordings and he has been described 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 wizards.’ Their CDs represent the musical journeys they have taken down the roads of folk, jazz, country, blues and another road that is their own. Their music just works!

Mac and John perform often in the Baltimore/Annapolis/Washington area and have sold out concerts in British Columbia as well. Their acoustic fingerstyle virtuousity is amazing to see. Both are talented in their own right but when they play together, the synergy and gorgeous harmonies they project always leave an audience on their feet and wanting more. Their music has been described as ‘ultimately satisfying’ and you will understand why once you have heard this outstanding duo.