There wasn’t a show this week due to Thanksgiving falling thoughtlessly on a Thursday as it does. But fear not, there is music!
On Monday, Nov 25th, Leo Kottke put on his annual concert. This year was at the Guthrie in Minneapolis. My Dad and I have been going to this show (around this time of year) since 1995. At that time the concert was at the Ordway in St Paul. The show has also been at The State in Minneapolis for a couple intervening years. In the last few years my wife and Mom have come along as well. That makes for a good family outing.
The marquee of The State Theater in 2006
For those who aren’t familiar with Kottke’s work, he is a guitarist. Further, in concert, he spends a notable amount of the show telling stories. They aren’t necessarily about the music. Sometimes the stories are about growing up in Wyoming, or how comic strip characters die, or, well, just about anything. This year he talked about being interviewed and being asked what is the inspiration for his songs. After a walk about response he said “Well, it’s the guitar!”. He is constantly fiddling with, playing small riffs and melodies, and just sort of wrestling with the guitar through the show. This conversation is one of the things that makes his live shows so worth attending. Eventually during the show he will smile, laugh a little and say (as he did this year right before playing “Then”) “Here it is. I’m having a better time than you are” as he wanders off on a story. I think it is also hard to capture what he does with those guitars live on a studio album.
Through the years the show has varied on if there is an opening act. Opening last year was Nellie McKay. In 2007 or 2008 it was Devotcka. This year was 3 members of the Minnesota Orchestra (which is currently embroiled in a very deep and unpleasant dispute with its members that doesn’t look to be ending anytime soon). They played a number of good pieces (they played for an hour) but my favorite pieces were by a Chicago composer named Marc Malitz (guess on the spelling).
This year was short on songs, long on stories, but the hour is still very enjoyable. Most notable for me was the number of variations on the melody that he played at the end of “Rings”. I write the set list in my moleskine each time but I can’t make out what I wrote down for the first song, so the setlist below is slightly incomplete. I pulled every live version I could for the mix to get closer to what it’s like.
Also, I like to point out this piece of trivia. Many people think Kottke’s first album is “6 and 12 String Guitar” (the one with the armadillo on the cover) but that isn’t true. His first album is this one!
My music nerd is showing more than usual
Recorded live at the Scholar Coffee House in Minneapolis in 1969 (which has since burned down). It’s on Oblivion records and as far as I know only 1000 were pressed. And yes, this picture is my copy.
Listen to and/or download this show! The Funkomaticjamatron Presents… Leo Kottke’s Set List from 11-25-13
“The Funkomaticjamatron Presents…” streams live 5-6 pm Central Time, Thursdays on KUST.
NOTE: The show archives are generally ten shows deep. Beyond that, if the link isn’t active, the mix has been deleted to make way for new material.
Song – Album
Can’t read what I wrote down for the first song, sorry.
Pamela Brown – Live in Europe
Living in the Country- My Feet Are Smiling
Julie’s House (with Emmylou Harris)– Time Step
Stealing – My Feet Are Smiling
The Fisherman –My Feet Are Smiling
Rings (with Mike Gordon) –Sixty Six Steps
Then –Try and Stop Me
Eggtooth – Live in Europe
Wonderland at Night – Peculiaroso