This autobiographical post at Leo Kottke’s site probably says as much about the great guitarist as a traditional bio. The guy can write. Here is the start:
Studying with three teachers in three years, I was a trombone student in Oklahoma until I was about fifteen years old. Each weekend at one of their houses I’d wait in the kitchen until the trombonist in the basement would yell up at me to come down– they taught in their basements. I would descend, assemble my horn, sit in a folding chair, park my sheet music on the stand, weather some insult aimed at my embouchure, and play whatever I had not been studying for the last week.
My teachers– industrious, frugal, starving men– had one thing in common other than my unpreparedness: they’d all installed do-it-yourself showers in those basements. These units stood in some corner, usually my corner, and they’d drip… ploink, ploink. There was nothing more ominous than basements with leaking showers in them, and there was no telling when fear began, but my trombone kept those home improvements at bay. (Continue Reading…)
This Last.fm bio is more traditional — and no less interesting:
Leo Kottke (born September 11, 1945 in Athens, Georgia) is a legendary acoustic guitar virtuoso who has developed a cult following of fellow guitarists and fans over the span of a 30-year career of recording and performing.
Blending folk, jazz, and blues influences into a signature finger-picked style of syncopated, polyphonic music, Kottke’s work pre-dated and predicted much of the New Age instrumental music movement, and is often considered part of the American Primitivism movement, partly because he was signed to John Fahey’s Takoma Records label.
Kottke has collaborated on his records with his mentor John Fahey, Chet Atkins, Lyle Lovett, Margo Timmins of the Cowboy Junkies, and Rickie Lee Jones. He has recorded tunes by Tom T. Hall, Johnny Cash, Carla Bley, Fleetwood Mac, The Byrds, Jorma Kaukonen, Kris Kristofferson, Randall Hylton and many others. He is also a frequent guest on the radio variety program A Prairie Home Companion.
Kottke has recently joined up with Phish bassist Mike Gordon to produce two new albums, clone and sixty six steps. This duo created a new tone resembling what can be described almost like island music. (Continue Reading…)
The top song, Vaseline Machine Gun, probably is Kottke’s best known song. This version was the second half of a CNN interview, which is pretty interesting. The music starts at about 1:45 and the end is cut off, but it probably is the best video on YouTube of the song. Last Steam Engine –which was written by John Fahey – is below.by
I’m not going to quote from this bio of Bukka White because the whole thing is so interesting, particularly the involvement of John Fahey. You can hear White’s influence in his music. Please check it out.
Another bio says that White’s young cousin is none other than B.B. King, and that White gave him his first guitar.
Here are Panama Limited, which is mentioned in the first bio, Fixin’ to Die Blues and two songs — Aberdeen Mississippi Blues and another version of Poor Boy A Long way From Home. I am not a guitarist, but I’ve never seen anyone play slide that way.by
John Fahey is one of the most unique guitarists ever. He was eccentric–I’ve heard a few stories over the years–and very influential.
Here are In Christ There is No East or West and Steamboat Gwine Round da Bend. The later is from the album Of Rivers and Religion, which is a masterpiece. I’m no expert, but it seems to me that he took music from the area around New Orleans, slowed it down and drew out its poignant nature. But please correct me if that’s off base.
I highly recommend this version of Phil Phillips’ Sea of Love because it’s great and shows just how different Fahey was.by