Many of Leo Kottke's fingerstyle acoustic guitar compositions are so complex that when I first realized it was a single guy producing all that sound, my first question was "How many fingers does this man have?" In reality, he's only endowed with the same 10 digits that most of us can claim, but he makes them dance around his guitar neck in a display of multi-tasking efficiency that has been his trademark for over 40 years. Bass lines, melodies, and chord structures simultaneously pour out of his instrument, filling the sonic spectrum to a degree most solo performers fail to achieve. His overzealous playing style even led to tendonitis in the early '80s, but two decades later, Kottke is still pickin'.
The Georgia native's music isn't just for guitar geeks such as myself, however. Kottke's name has popped up everywhere from People to Playboy and he's recorded with artists as diverse as Lyle Lovett and Phish bassist Mike Gordon. He hasn't released a new album since 2005's Sixty Six Steps (in collaboration with Gordon), but with over two dozen albums under his belt, Kottke should have no problem coming up with material for his live show.
Leo Kottke plays the University Theatre Tuesday, May 17, at 8 PM. $25/$23 advance plus fees.