Guitar virtuoso Leo Kottke will perform at the Rogue theatre in Grants Pass. - bowkera.com

Leo Kottke at the Rogue Theatre

Acoustic guitar virtuoso Leo Kottke will bring his signature finger-picked style to the Rogue Valley for a performance at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 21, at the Rogue Theatre, 143 S.E. H St., Grants Pass.

Kottke has developed a cult following of fellow guitarists and fans from his 30-year career of recording and performing. He blends folk, jazz and blues influences into his own brand of syncopated, polyphonic music.

Kottke has overcome a series of personal obstacles, including partial deafness and a nearly career-ending bout with tendon and related nerve damage, to emerge as the widely recognized master of his instrument.

Kottke's recordings range from offbeat singer-songwriter tunes to far-reaching instrumental suites. Focusing primarily on instrumental composition and playing, Kottke has sporadically moved in a vocal direction, singing in an unconventional yet expressive baritone.

In concert, Kottke intersperses humorous and often bizarre monologues with vocal and instrumental selections from throughout his career, played solo on his signature six- and 12-string guitars.

In the early 1980s, suffering from damage caused by his vigorous and aggressive picking style, Kottke changed to a more classical style. He also studied more classical- and jazz-oriented compositional and playing techniques. After an album that featured a guest appearance from Lyle Lovett, Kottke returned two years later with "Peculiaroso," that featured production by Rickie Lee Jones.

In 2002, Kottke and Mike Gordon (then the bassist from the band Phish, which was on an extended hiatus) collaborated on "Clone," an album featuring instrumental work and vocals from both musicians. A second album from the pair, "Sixty Six Steps," followed in 2005. The duo has toured in support of both albums.

In between these two duet albums, Kottke released a solo album, 2004's "Try and Stop Me."

Kottke received an honorary doctorate in music performance from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2008, when he gave the commencement address.

Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door. Call 471-1316.

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