Acclaimed acoustic guitarist Leo Kottke will play Anthology on January 29.
Kottke, considered a genius in his field, started playing music at a young age, but guitar wasn’t his first choice. The Georgia-based songwriter cut his teeth on the trombone, something that Kottke says he loved, but with which he eventually grew disillusioned: “I never considered that a life in trombone might differ from the one I was imagining…a life lived in hotels, in black suits and skinny ties, Ray-Bans indoors.” Sometime around age fifteen, Kottke intentionally bombed a trombone recital and moved on with his life.
The soon-to-be guitar virtuoso picked up his signature instrument around that time, a career choice that would lead him to become highly respected among his peers. Kottke’s path was not without bumps, however. As a youth, a firecracker accident caused irreversible damage to his left ear. Later, he injured his other ear while serving in the U.S. Navy. In the 1980s, Kottke’s intense picking style led to tendinitis and nerve damage in his hand, forcing him to reinvent his method of playing.
Kottke’s perseverence paid off, though. Between solo albums, studio efforts, and collaborations, he’s released over two dozen critically-acclaimed records since his 1969 debut. All along the way, Kottke has continued to put out inventive music that takes listeners to places they’d never before imagined.
In addition to being an accomplished musician, Kottke just participated in a book called “Innerviews: Musicians Without Borders,” in which author Anil Prasad interviewed 24 songwriters of all stripes, including Björk, Ani DiFranco, Chuck D, Béla Fleck and others.