“It’s not hyperbole to compare Kottke’s influence on acoustic players to Hendrix’s influence on electric”: Win tickets to see acoustic master Leo Kottke

Leo Kottke performs live at the 2003 Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, Tennessee
(Image credit: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)

Leo Kottke set the standard for the modern acoustic icon, and he continues to blaze a singular trail. 

While popular culture was focused on Woodstock and the flower power revolution happening largely on the electric side in 1969, Kottke was about to drop equivalent of an acoustic A-bomb with 6- and 12-String Guitar on mentor John Fahey’s Takoma label. 

It landed with authority in December of that year, setting a standard that ushered in the golden ’70s and that resonates to the present day. Masterpieces such as Vaseline Machine Gun and Crow River Waltz take prominent places in playlists on streaming platforms and remain setlist staples.

It’s not hyperbole to compare Kottke’s influence on acoustic players to Hendrix’s influence on electric. Kottke is routinely name checked by acoustic aficionados working in myriad styles from blues to jazz, including in recent Frets features with Catfish Keith and Julian Lage, the latter of whom toured with Kottke and recounted some of the insights he picked up to GP.

“Leo’s the greatest, and a completely unique archetype of player,” Lage says. “He’s a storyteller; he’s a communicator. 

“He happens to play the guitar like no one else, with one of the greatest grooves of all time, one of the most fascinating techniques, and one of the most soulful melodic and harmonic senses of anybody ever. But one of the beautiful things about Leo is one of the hardest things to do, which is to forget that you’re playing a guitar and just feel like you’re playing music. He embodies that transcendence.” 

Leo Kottke - Live at The Lensic - 7/31/2019 - The Opening - YouTube Leo Kottke - Live at The Lensic - 7/31/2019 - The Opening - YouTube
Watch On

Kottke’s profile in this millennium has gotten a boost through his duo work with bassist Mike Gordon of Phish fame, but Kottke mostly still performs as a solo act, as he’ll be doing on Thursday, June 20, and Friday, June 21, at the historic Freight & Salvage in Berkeley, California. The Freight has been the Bay Area’s folk music home since 1968. A true community meeting place, it has the best acoustics for Americana music anywhere in the region. 

Kottke’s off-the-cuff storytelling and bone-dry wit make each gig uniquely memorable. GP Presents will be on site Thursday with free magazines and Martin strings. Secure your seats now.

Win Tickets

For a chance to win a pair of tickets to GP Presents Leo Kottke in Berkeley, send an email to gp@jimmyleslie.com with “Leo” in the subject and simply include a sentence about yourself and why you want to go. 

Phone contact is greatly appreciated for confirmation. 

Winner must provide their own transportation to the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley, California, on Thursday, June 20, and have their own accommodations in the Bay Area. 

Best of luck! 

Event Details

Guitar Player Presents Leo Kottke – Thursday, June 20
Freight & Salvage – 2020 Addison Street, Berkeley, California 94704
7pm doors, 8pm show; All Ages

Free GP magazines, Martin strings
Buy Tickets

Jimmy Leslie has been Frets editor since 2016. See many Guitar Player- and Frets-related videos on his YouTube channel, and learn about his acoustic/electric rock group at spirithustler.com.