"The premise of the Reventones is my interest in flamenco and the rumba," Christy says. "Even the stuff that isn't flamenco, we're approaching it from a flamenco guitarist's point of view. Jon Knight is a very good classical guitarist. His interests are in Latin music, South American music. And his interest is in singing. So the areas that I'm weak in, he's strong in. We're not stuffy about our music. We take a lot of liberties in terms of interpretation, and we'll improvise over classical forms. Anything we do that's classical is alive. We approach all of the songs more like jazz or flamenco."

Though he's established himself as the go-to flamenco guitarist and teacher in town, Christy is contemplating leaving St. Louis and heading west. "I would say in six months that I won't be here," he says. "St. Louis has been incredibly good to me, as far as being a professional musician. I do a lot of private events, which really pay the bills. Restaurant gigs give you exposure, but they don't pay that much. I have to be someplace else if I'm really going to further my career. I've known that for a long time, but I feel like the time has finally come. Sometimes you just know when that time comes."

Until that time does come, St. Louisans can still hear Christy perform as a solo guitarist at his residency at the Shaved Duck each Wednesday evening. A mastery of tradition runs through each strum and figure, but so too does his desire to keep the art physical, sensual and spiritual — keep it perfectly impure, keep it dirty.

Lliam Christy has done time in everything from pop-punk to cover bands.
Roy Kasten
Lliam Christy has done time in everything from pop-punk to cover bands.

"You have to be able to dirty it," he says. "I'm serious about that. If you can't dirty it, you're not going to make it as a flamenco musician. You can say the same thing about a blues musician or about rock & roll. It's got to be real. It has to come from your heart."

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