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Leo Kottke -Finger picking Musical Delight

Leo Kottke is one of those musical talents that when you first hear him, you hit yourself on the head, and say "where have I been". Then you hit yourself twice, when you hear that he has been playing since l969. His fingerpicking, combined with off beat humor, old fashioned story telling in a self-effacing rambling type style, presents an intriguing combination not easily placed in any one category. One wonders if he descended from one of the old cowboys telling stories around the campfire after a day on the range. A perfect setting for such a brilliant guitar player, was the old historical Mystic Theater in downtown Petaluma. When you first arrive at the entrance you feel like you stepped back in time. The front large marquee in neon lights reads Mcnear's Mystic Theater Leo Kottke March 4. Once inside, it evokes the grandeur of yesteryear. Leo Kottke, a one man show, steps onto stage at 8:30 p.m. wearing a white long sleeve shirt and blue jeans, supported on his side by his twelve string and six string guitars. Leo starts by warming up with a fantastic flow of fast cord progressions up and down the neck of his guitar and very fast fingerpicking. He is master in the art of playing complicated chord changes, with fluid fingerpicking styles. He makes you think there are two or three people on stage accompanying him. His presence is matched with the gifted art of gab. His storytelling skills compliments his music at the same time. As Leo Kottke sits tuning his guitar for the next series of songs, he tells stories of experiences from his travels and life. He makes you feel like you can just sit there for hours in awe gazing at his blazing fingers moving up and down the fret board with his precise movements, picking out that distinctive Kottke rhythm, and at the same time listen to his wonderful stories with gifted humor. Some of his songs "Like Eight Miles High" and "Corrina Corrina", notably made you feel like sailing away with him along his musical journey. Many of his songs did not have lyrics, the masterful compositions told their own story. I would say that most of his songs just do that. Leo Kottke absorbing style forces you to enjoy yourself, and slip into a peaceful state of mind.

--- Randy Cohen

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