Sponsored by David & Caroline Johnson, Robin & Sandy Stuart
Sponsored in part by Jonathan Friedland
A self-taught guitar player and songwriter, Leo Kottke was born in Athens, Georgia. A stint in the US Navy was followed by a move to Minneapolis, where he found a nurturing environment in the city’s thriving folk scene. Kottke’s breakthrough came in 1969 when his mentor, legendary guitarist John Fahey, invited him to record for his fledgling Takoma label. Known for prodigious technique and a languid, dulcet-toned voice, Kottke has performed and recorded with a wide array of musicians including Chet Atkins, Procol Harum and the Violent Femmes. His prowess on the six- and 12-string guitar has influenced a span of three generations of acoustic guitarists, including innovators such as the late Michael Hedges, Preston Reed and Don Ross, and contemporary wunderkinds such as Daniel Bachman.
“His ability to conjure so many flavors and attract so many labels—country, blues, new age, folk, jazz, pop, Americana— yet not be confined by any of them, speaks to his knowledge of (and ceaseless curiosity about) music beyond genre.” -ACOUSTIC GUITAR