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Try and Stop Me

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Album Review

Even though six- and twelve-string master Leo Kottke's last solo album, released five years before, was named One Guitar, No Vocals, that could just as well have been the title of this one. Except for a set-closing vocal turn fronting Los Lobos on the Weavers' folk song "The Banks of Marble," the rest is just Kottke and his acoustic guitar. Together they make music that falls between folk, world, jazz, gospel, and the dreaded new age that is indelibly tied to Kottke's recognizable percussive style. There are few deviations from his established direction and many of these tracks could have been included on any of his previous two-dozen or so discs. But that doesn't lessen the impact of experiencing one of the most respected and intense acoustic guitarists in the history of the instrument ply his craft. In addition to the aforementioned tune, Kottke covers another old folk standard, "Mockingbird Hill," (which he claims to have heard from Patti Page). He tears the song apart, then reconstructs it in his own image. Carla Bley's "Jesus Maria" also goes through the Kottke machine — for the third time — and emerges sounding like a beautiful and twisted song from the guitarist's own pen. Short and bizarre liner notes for each tune are typically peculiar, some relating to the song in ways only Kottke will understand. Established fans won't find many revelations here, but they will still relish hearing fresh Kottke music, if only because he's obviously still playing at the top of his game 35 years into his idiosyncratic career.


Born: 11 September 1945 in Athens, GA

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Innovative acoustic guitar virtuoso Leo Kottke was born September 11, 1945, in Athens, GA. Raised in 12 different states, he absorbed a variety of musical influences as a child, flirting with both violin and trombone before trying his hand at the guitar at age 11. After developing a love for the country-blues of Mississippi John Hurt, Kottke lost much of the hearing in his left ear as a result of a mishap with a firecracker; during a later tenure in the Naval Reserve, his right ear suffered permanent...
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Try and Stop Me, Leo Kottke
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