Leo Kottke to Play WHBPAC, 10/26
One of the most innovative acoustic guitar virtuosos of all time, this Grammy-winner creates music drawing on pop, blues, jazz, and folk influences. With classical precision, popular appeal, and 20th-century harmony, his music challenges all preconceived notions of how acoustic guitar music should sound. Dazzling audiences with his unique fingerpicking style, his guitar dexterity will amaze all ages!
Kottke was raised in 12 different states and absorbed a variety of musical influences as a child, flirting with both violin and trombone, before abandoning Stravinsky for the guitar at age 11. After adding a love for the country-blues of Mississippi John Hurt to the music of John Phillip Sousa and Preston Epps, Kottke joined the Navy underage. Kottke had previously entered college at the University of Missouri, dropping out after a year to hitchhike across the country to South Carolina, then to New London and into the Navy, with his twelve string.
After being discharged, he became a fixture at Minneapolis' Scholar Coffeehouse, which had been home to Bob Dylan and John Koerner. Kottke was signed to guitarist John Fahey's Takoma label, releasing what has come to be called the Armadillo record. Fahey and his manager Denny Bruce soon secured a production deal for Kottke with Capitol Records.
Kottke's 1971 major-label debut, "Mudlark," positioned him in the singer/songwriter vein, despite his own wishes to remain an instrumental performer. But Kottke flourished during his tenure on Capitol, as records like 1972's "Greenhouse" and 1973's live "My Feet Are Smiling" and "Ice Water" found him branching out with guest musicians and honing his guitar technique.
His collaboration with Phish bassist Mike Gordon, "Clone," caught audiences' attention in 2002. Kottke and Gordon followed with a recording in the Bahamas called "Sixty Six Steps," produced by Leo's old friend and Prince producer David Z.
Kottke has been awarded two Grammy nominations; a Doctorate in Music Performance by the Peck School of Music at the U of Wisconsin, Milwaukee; and a Certificate of Significant Achievement in Not Playing the Trombone from the U of Texas at Brownsville with Texas Southmost College.