Shows I'll Never Forget: Leo Kottke, March 31, 2003

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by Mark Saleski, in Manchester N.H.

Leo Kottke brought his one-man encyclopedia of acoustic guitar to Manchester’s Palace Theatre that night. With all of the depressing war-related news, rumors, etc., it was nice to sit down and hear some music in one of its purer forms: just a guy and his guitar.

And what a guitar it is. Leo Kottke’s playing is unique in the acoustic guitar world. Sure, there are other fingerstyle players, aficionados of alternate tunings, slide players. You name it. None of them sound like Leo (OK, maybe you can count John Fahey in there … and while I love his playing too, it’s just not the same).

Walking basslines below chiming artificial harmonics, aggressive ‘circular’ rhythms, atonal ‘bent’ chords … all with beautiful melodies somehow woven in.

I don’t know how he does it.

And then I got home from the show and glanced over at my guitar. I could just swear that it shot back with a “who the hell are you lookin’ at?!”

I looked away and skulked off to bed.

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Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to Jazz.com, Blogcritics.org and Salon, he originated several of our weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Mark Saleski
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