Three-time WAMMIE winner Mac Walter began his music career at 15 when Marianne Price, formerly of Dan Hicks and The Hot Licks/The Kinks, convinced him to give up the ukulele and try the guitar. Three months later, Mac was playing in Marianne’s band and he has not put the guitar down since. Music became the guiding force in a life spent as a professional musician.
In the 1960’s Mac developed his unique fingerstyle approach to playing folk, rock, blues, jazz, and country and taught students at the Charlie Byrd Studio in Bethesda, Maryland. Heavily influenced by folk luminaries such as Doc Watson, Mississippi John Hurt, Dave Van Ronk, Dick Rosmini, and especially by his guitar mentor, Raun MacKinnon Burnham, he totally dedicated himself to his music and refused to be pinned down to one musical genre.
Driven by an insatiable desire to learn all things about music, Mac attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston. He continued his studies with John Knowles, John Miller and Woody Mann. After his education, he returned to his home base of Maryland/Virginia/Washington DC and earned a reputation as a stellar guitarist and singer/songwriter. He hitched up with legendary 12-time WAMMIE winner and boogie woogie/jazz/blues icon Deanna Bogart for an 8-year ride during which they released three CDs on the Flying Fish, Blind Pig, and Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville record labels and headlined jazz and blues festivals all over Europe and the USA including the Monterey Blues Festival.
While touring as an opening act with Johnny Winter, Mac earned the respect of all the tour musicians because he was the only guitarist they’d ever seen Johnny stand in the wings to see and Johnny told everyone he thought Mac was ‘a really great guitar player.’ Coming from one of his guitar idols, that meant a lot to Mac. Mac also played with other DC legends including Danny Gatton and Roy Buchanan. Deanna nicknamed Mac ‘The Professor’ because of his guitar prowess and knowledge about off-the-wall things and to this day people still refer to him by that name.
After his stint with Deanna, Mac moved to broaden his musical career and opened Mac Walter Productions recording studio where he has recorded, produced, arranged, mixed and mastered countless CDs for fellow musicians as well as his own CDs with ‘Cousins’ and Barbara Martin.
Mac and his cousin, John Cronin, began playing together as teenagers and developed their unique style over the past 35 years. Both are talented in their own right but when they play together, the acoustic fingerstyle and gorgeous harmonies they project is amazing. John’s boisterous folksy enthusiasm is infectious and a perfect foil for Mac’s golden tones. John, who lives in British Columbia, spent 7 years working in the hugely popular Ian Tyson Band touring Canada and the USA. Ian proclaimed John as the most lyrical guitar player he’d ever heard. And Chesapeake Bay folk icon, Tom Wisner, describes John’s playing as ‘the heart of the guitar.’ Word of their great CD ‘Cousins’ has spread at the grass roots level and has sold amazingly well despite not being on a traditional label. Their CD ‘Second Cousins’ was released in the Summer of 2006. And, yes, they are working on 'Third Cousins!'
Mac is an exciting, versatile, dynamic master of the guitar and a role model to would-be players for his dedication and virtuosity on the instrument. His fingerstyle synergy always leaves an audience on their feet and wanting more. Mac's repertoire is a stunning variety of musical styles and reflects the depth and range of emotion he conveys in his playing. His command of the acoustic guitar is breathtaking and he is one of those rare musicians who can do it all while still maintaining his own distinctive voice. He makes the guitar come to life with a rare passion and plays at a level few musicians ever achieve. He is a guitar virtuoso who has to be seen to be believed.
Mac also conducts guitar workshops and seminars and has become a much sought-after studio technician. He also finds time to pursue his interests in 100-mile bike rides, rebuilding guitars, playing bridge and strategic war games, traveling, and collecting seashells from around the world.