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Author Topic:  Van Manakas
manny escobar


From:
portsmouth,r.i. usa
Post Posted 8 May 2017 6:54 am     Reply with quote

Van Manakas is the virtuoso guitarist who has been backing up steel guitarists from around the world at the PSGA in Norwalk, Connecticut for several years. I went to see a Johnny Cash impersonator,(forgot his name), at the Newport Grand Casino in Newport, RI. I really enjoyed the hour&twenty minutes show. As I sat there I thought the lead guitar player looked like Van Manakas, but his musical dictionary is more progressive than the disciplined Johnny Cash licks he was playing. It can`t be him. Also he was more theatrical than the Van I saw in Norwalk. It was an honor speaking to him at the end of the show learning that I had been watching the real genius.
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Chris Templeton


From:
The Green Mountain State
Post Posted 8 May 2017 8:09 am     Reply with quote

It was such a treat to hear Van at the PSGA show in Norwalk, last Fall.
I heard him at PSGA shows in the '80s and it was so nice to hear him again.
A great longtime supporter of the steel guitar!
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Roger Rettig


From:
An Englishman in Naples, FL
Post Posted 8 May 2017 11:24 am     Reply with quote

Van was the first musical friend I made when I moved to America. My debut gig was a three-month run of 'Always, Patsy Cline' in Roanoke and then Abingdon, VA.

I've never forgotten meeting John Widgren at about the same time. I mentioned that Van was on my upcoming gig and he said: 'Van is very good....' I replied inanely saying, oh that's good then, but John fixed me with his eyes and said:

"No - Van is very, very good!"

He was quite right - Van Manakas is a master player.
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RR
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John De Maille


From:
On a Mountain in Upstate Halcottsville, N.Y.
Post Posted 8 May 2017 5:34 pm     Reply with quote

Van has played our PSGA shows for a great many years. He never tires backing up so many steel players. He can play more styles than I've got fingers and toes, superbly.
He's a true master player and a genuine great guy. I'm proud to know him and call him a friend.
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Ben Lawson


From:
Hillsborough N.J.
Post Posted 9 May 2017 7:06 am     Reply with quote

I have been fortunate to have been working with Van for the last few years. He is indeed an incredible guitar player and he doubles on fiddle. Beyond his musianship is his humanity and humility. He is one of the finest Gentleman I know.
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Roger Rettig


From:
An Englishman in Naples, FL
Post Posted 9 May 2017 7:09 am     Reply with quote

I will never forget Van's kindness to me, a new arrival in America.

I'm sadly out of touch with him now but I'd appreciate it if someone here who knows him could pass on my sincere best wishes.
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RR
Emmons LG3 D-10, JCH SD-10, Zum Encore


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Joe Ribaudo


From:
New Jersey, USA
Post Posted 9 May 2017 9:32 am     Reply with quote

Adding my voice to the chorus in praise of Van.
He makes it look so easy it just hurts.
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Craig Stock


From:
Westfield, NJ USA
Post Posted 9 May 2017 6:11 pm     Reply with quote

I was just listening to Van's CD 'American Guitar' today in my truck. One of my go to albums which features Doug Jernigan, absolutely fabulous!

I have had the pleasure, as does John D., to work the PSGA shows with Van, and love to see the magic that he presents on stage with every player.

He is the best of the best, and as everyone says, a nice humble man. Looking forward to November in Norwalk.
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Regards, Craig
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Steve Alcott


From:
New York, New York, USA
Post Posted 11 May 2017 3:45 pm     Reply with quote

It's been my pleasure to have Van next to me on stage with Western Caravan for a couple of years now. He never ceases to surprise me.
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Buck Reid


From:
Mt. Juliet,TN
Post Posted 12 May 2017 4:35 am     Reply with quote

I'll co-sign all the above. I've been able to make the show in Norwalk the past two years where Van, Steve and the entire band really did their home work and sounded great with all the steelers. Thanks again guys for making my sets easier and fun!
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John Swain


From:
Newberry,SC
Post Posted 13 May 2017 7:13 am     Reply with quote

I've had the pleasure of knowing Van for 45 years, from playing in my bluegrass band,Stony Creek, through working in various freelance gigs. It's always a joy to share the stage with Van!

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Steve Alcott


From:
New York, New York, USA
Post Posted 13 May 2017 8:34 am     Reply with quote

Nice pics!
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Ben Lawson


From:
Hillsborough N.J.
Post Posted 13 May 2017 9:46 am     Reply with quote

I spoke to Van and told him about this post. He is very appreciative of the kind words. Hopefully he'll jump in.
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john widgren


From:
wilton CT USA
Post Posted 13 May 2017 11:03 am     van Reply with quote

I'm a Van fan.

Known him for years and I can say that his excellence as a musician is only exceeded by his excellence as a human being...and man, that's something.

Love ya bud!

JW
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Russ Wever


From:
Kansas City
Post Posted 17 May 2017 8:29 pm     Reply with quote

A young(er) Van Manakas ~> click at 2:07
~Rw
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