The majority of Leo Kottke’s recorded works include more than a few selections during which he sings, even though he once described his voice as sounding like “geese farts on a muggy day.” Coming up alongside the rest of the Takoma Records’ cohorts means Kottke arrived at folksy performances as much from an instrumental take on the music as anything else. Seeing him perform, though, there’s bound to be a misled baby boomer calling out for “Rings” or some other vocal number. Having injured his hand a few decades back, Kottke recuperated by devising a new approach to guitar, perhaps inviting all these works laden with lyrics. That new conception and forty years of performing has resulted in his dexterity declining a bit. But when Kottke’s unfettered by vocal concerns, there’re moments making listeners wonder why he’s not better known than John Fahey. Of course, the market for this sort of old tyme acoustic music isn’t skewing towards a younger crowd. And after all that early millennium freeq folk nonsense passing him over, Kottke’s continued on with a series of never-ending tour dates, performing for audiences who recall when he was actually releasing music. Despite hooking up with Phish bassist Mike Gordon, the guitarist hasn’t gone and tried to work many festivals directed at the granola set. Instead, Kottke persists in hitting up stately auditoriums, often skirting city-centers for out of the way, bucolic spaces better suited to his six-stringed style. (Dave Cantor)
June 4 at the Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 North Lincoln, (773)728-6000, 8pm. $40.