The early work of Leo Kottke is held in such high esteem by anyone who cares about the power of one man playing one acoustic guitar that his late-period work gets short shrift. It's as if the man who spent the '70s redefining the instrument and destroying his right hand in the furious process had nothing left to say. One listen to his recent collaboration with Mike Gordon, one trip through a dizzying '90s album like Peculiaroso or even just one cheap seat in a concert hall can prove his inexhaustible humor and insatiable desire to wreck everything you thought you knew about melody, rhythm and harmony. And then he'll rebuild it all beautifully, on just a six- or twelve-string guitar.
Listen For: Kottke's abyss-plunged voice and shaggy-dog stories are true secret weapons. You never know what he'll say or play next.