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Leo Kottke: Steel string master tunes up at the Tower

Leo Kottke, the master of steel string makes his way to the Tower Theatre this month.

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The demure Midwest finger style guitar maestro makes his Tower Theatre debut this weekend in a performance that the Tower is dubbing, "An Evening with Leo Kottke." It seems a fitting bill for a man whose conversational performances and colorful storytelling seem more suited for a coffee house than a stadium. Perhaps that's because Kottke originally made a name for himself at Minneapolis' Scholar Coffeehouse, near the University of Minnesota campus. It wasn't long before Kottke's signature sound landed him a recording contract in 1969. Kottke used the studio time to record 12-String Blues, which established Kottke as a groundbreaking, if hard to classify, guitar player.
The follow-up album, 6- and 12-String Guitar, remains a watershed moment in acoustic guitar history and one of the seminal recordings in modern acoustic guitar history. Kottke has gone on to record more than a dozen instrumental and folk albums, the latter of which are highlighted by Kottke's soft, narrative-driven vocals. Kottke's off-speed delivery, quirky characters and Minnesota roots make him a sort of acoustic guitar virtuoso version of Garrison Keilor. Similarly, Kottke is best experienced in person, in a setting where the artist can control the pacing and the mood. Like tasting a fine wine, a Kottke show should be sipped and savored because the artist, like a good pinot, has aged well.

An Evening With Leo Kottke

Friday, March 16.7:30 p.m.

Tower Theatre, 835 NW Wall St.

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