Selection Reminder: Leo Kottke tonight at the Plaza Live!




Friday, April 22Leo Kottke

It’ll hit you right in the gut: Leo Kottke’s 12-string guitar tuned two steps down vibrates like a bell and thunders like a full orchestra. He made a case for instrumental steel-string guitar composition with a demo sent to John Fahey (the father of American primitive guitar), but Kottke’s intensely difficult and fast picking seemed so impossible that Fahey thought it must have been overdubbed. (Need proof? Check out Kottke’s “Vaseline Machine Gun.”) In the mid-’80s, tendinitis got the best of Kottke, and he was forced to change strumming styles. He continues to use a slide, and while there’s a flavor of blues and folk in his songs, it’s hard to place him in either camp. You can hear Kottke sing on a couple of albums, but he avoids it; he’s been quoted as saying his voice sounds like geese farts on a muggy day. A lone wolf road warrior, Kottke travels by himself and tonight, he isn’t promoting a specific album, but rather 30-plus years of songwriting. Expect wry storytelling in between numbers, but don’t be surprised if he gives everybody the slip after the show. He’s on to the next gig. –Katie Westfall (7 p.m. at the Plaza Live, 425 N. Bumby Ave.; $20-$30; 407-228-1220;