At the age of 13, Tony Vines discovered a love for playing drums. He went on to drum for several bands, but later established a very successful career as a luthier (someone who makes and/or repairs stringed instruments). In fact, his hand made acoustic guitars are rated by experts as some of the best made guitars in the world. Over the years, many well known musicians and others, e.g., Johnny Cash, Henry Smith (recording engineer and producer), Tom Bass (the acoustic player for country artist Clay Walker), and Tad Laven (who plays acoustic guitar for Art Garfunkel), have chosen to play guitars made by Tony. Recently, however, guitar building has taken a backseat to Tony writing and singing intensely personal and heartfelt songs of peace, playing for churches, youth groups, Celebrate Recovery groups, hospital patients, and coffee houses.
His latest album, “Ascension” presents a collection of largely instrumental compositions featuring Tony’s hand made acoustic guitar as the lead voice, and with just the right amount of limited instrumental accompaniment (strings, piano, bass), and occasional light (non-word) vocals by Tony. There is also one solo guitar track (Forgiveness) and one simply outstanding track featuring Tony’s amazing and powerful voice and lyrics (Dance). The album also features the “fretless bass” stylings of accomplished musician Michael Manring on three songs: “Book of Tears,” “Ascension” and “Moonlite.”
“Ascension” is a an extremely impressive album. Tony is clearly a master of the acoustic guitar and the sound he produces is mellow, rich, and exquisite. The music is deceptively complex and sophisticated, with an undeniable classic “New Age” guitar feel (think Will Ackerman and Jeff Pearce). But the music is also especially relaxing, diverting, slow, emotive, and peaceful, with a unique style that captures the listener and pulls them in. The songs also clearly reflect the fact that for Tony, the music is deeply personal and expressive of his life experiences and his faith. The slow, emotional style is particularly pronounced on “Book of Tears,” “Dreams,” “Reflections,” and “Forgiveness.” In contrast, two other tracks have a more positive, optimistic, and uplifting feel (Sunflower and Cafe). In summary, “Ascension” is an exceptional album and we definitely recommend adding it to your collection.