As a teenager growing up in New York in the 70’s I attended my share of rock concerts. The main act typically came on after a ‘warm-up’ band played for while. On one occasion I went to see Procol Harum (best known for their song “A Whiter Shade of Pale”) at Madison Square Garden’s Felt Forum.
Expecting to see an array of drums, amps and guitars, the only thing on stage was a single folding chair. Something was clearly not right and the crowd was confused and restless. Then, out walks a guy with a 12 string acoustic guitar and he introduces himself as Loe Kottke. I had never heard of him. By the time his set was over, I could barely remember who I came to see.
Leo Kottke was my introduction to American fingerstyle guitar, a little known but incredibly influential genre. Here is an example from his breakthrough “6 and 12 String Guitar” (a.k.a “The Armadillo Album” for it’s unique cover art – 1969). Keep in mind when you hear this; there is only one one person playing one guitar with no overdubbing . Below is Leo Kottke with “The Fisherman”