Sunday, March 28, 2010

An Acoustic Evening with Leo Kottke

Someone told us that there are only 3 people in the world who can make a 12-string guitar REALLY sing... and all 3 of those people are Leo Kottke. 

There are apparently a lot of people who agree.  The Keswick Theatre was sold out last night for a concert with Leo Kottke and Los Lobos.  Almost every seat was full before the "opening act".  A rarity!

We were in the first row - right hand side - close enough to watch Mr. Kottke's hands.  There were no finger picks - no thumb pick - just the glorious sound of that beautiful Taylor 12-string that seemed to produce itself magically and with almost no effort at all.

In the 1980's, Mr. Kottke (no... we aren't on a first name basis yet.  Besides he's 3 years older than I am.  It's a "respect" thing.) suffered from tendonitis and nerve damage cause by his aggressive picking style, so... he changed it.  He changed the position of his right hand and began using the flesh of his fingers and his fingernails instead of the finger picks. 

I was able to take my eyes off the stage twice (and that took great discipline) to look around at the crowd.  The audience was mesmerized! 

I'm not sure how long Mr. Kottke played - maybe an hour.  I only know it wasn't long enough.  I could have listened and watched all night. 

We took a couple of pictures, but we didn't even think about the camera until he put down his 12-string for a 6-string. 

AND... he was funny, which surprised me for some reason.  He told an anecdote about being chosen to be "the cover" for a magazine, so when he showed up for the photo shoot, he saw Doc Watson and Chet Atkins.  They had been told the same thing.  I don't know if they ever got around to pictures, but we heard about what a great time the three of them had playing together.  And then he played something that sounded SO much like Doc Watson - except on a 12-string.  Just amazing!  Oh!  And we all got a chuckle when he told us that the magazine was "In Flight"

At the end of the evening, I felt privileged to be there - to see Leo Kottke in person - to experience the wonder of his music - to watch his genius.

There truly are only 3 people in the world who can REALLY make a 12-string guitar sing - and they are ALL Leo Kottke.

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