After recording more than 40 albums over four decades, Kottke is known across the nation for his impressive body of work and a simply stunning fingerpicking style that has won him two Grammy nominations. His sound draws inspiration from folk, blues and jazz. His unique performances showcase his virtuosic playing as well as his quirky humor. The inventor of such titles as “When Shrimps Learn to Whistle” and “Burnt Lips,” Kottke is known for his self-deprecating, loopy sense of humor and quirky, yet brilliant, stage presence. Rolling Stone described him as “so good that he didn’t need a band.” Folk great Pete Seeger, who (along with John Fahey) was one of Kottke’s first influences, called the young guitar player “the best twelve-string guitarist [he has] ever heard.”
“At any given moment you could close your eyes and imagine three guitarists in the place of Kottke,” wrote Ian McFarland of the Melbourne Review, describing the speed and complex layering of Kottke’s playing in concert.
Lyle Lovett, who toured with Kottke in 1989, may have summed up Kottke best when he told Billboard magazine in 1989 “playing acoustic guitar on stage with Leo Kottke is like pitching to Darryl Strawberry.”