Guitarist Leo Kottke to Perform at St. Cecilia Music Center – November 19, 2021

Legendary Guitarist Leo Kottke returns to perform at St. Cecilia Music Center’s Acoustic Café Series on November 19, 2021

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – St. Cecilia Music Center is delighted to welcome back legendary guitarist and Grand Rapids favorite Leo Kottke on November 19, 2021. Kottke, who has been described by Rolling Stone Magazine as “so good that he didn’t need a band” will entertain the West Michigan audience with his amazing six and twelve-string guitar picking genius. Kottke who has more than 42 years of touring under his belt, nearly 30 albums to his name and an astonishing array of material to choose from, will entertain the audience with his instrumental genius and engaging sense of humor.

Tickets for Leo Kottke are $40 – $45, available at or by calling 616-459-2224.

St. Cecilia Music Center’s Executive & Artistic Director Cathy Holbrook says, “Leo Kottke has a large fan base in West Michigan and it’s always a pleasure to bring him to St. Cecilia Music Center. Leo not only performs with genius guitar-picking precision on his 6-and-12-string guitars, he’s also a great storyteller recalling many humorous experiences. We can’t wait to greet him again on stage on Friday, November 19th!”

St. Cecilia Music Center’s 2021-22 Season includes a World-Class Lineup of Folk and Jazz Musicians, as well as celebrates the 10th anniversary of their partnership with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. The new WinterFest Music Festival in February will also be an exciting highlight of the new season. Throughout the season, St. Cecilia Music Center will feature 17+ evenings of outstanding performances by world-renowned jazz, folk, and chamber music artists in what is their 138th season of music.

NOTE: SCMC currently requires proof of fully vaccinated status, or a negative COVID test taken within 48 hours, to attend a concert at the SCMC venue. Attendees need to bring photo ID and proof of vaccination, or a negative test, the night of a concert.

In areas with substantial and high transmission, the CDC recommends that everyone (including fully vaccinated individuals) wear a mask in public indoor settings to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, especially the Delta variant, and to protect others. To that end, SCMC is requiring that all attendees wear a mask while in the building. They will continue to monitor the COVID environment and may change policies at any time if necessary.

About Leo Kottke
Acoustic guitarist Leo Kottke was born in Athens, Georgia, but left town after a year and a half. Raised in 12 different states, he absorbed a variety of musical influences as a child, flirting with both violin and trombone, before abandoning Stravinsky for the guitar at age 11.

After adding a love for the country-blues of Mississippi John Hurt to the music of John Phillip Sousa and Preston Epps, Kottke joined the Navy underage, to be underwater, and eventually lost some hearing shooting at lightbulbs in the Atlantic while serving on the USS Halfbeak, a diesel submarine.

Kottke had previously entered college at the U of Missouri, dropping out after a year to hitchhike across the country to South Carolina, then to New London and into the Navy, with his twelve string. “The trip was not something I enjoyed,” he has said, “I was broke and met too many interesting people.”

Discharged in 1964, he settled in the Twin Cities area and became a fixture at Minneapolis’ Scholar Coffeehouse, which had been home to Bob Dylan and John Koerner. He issued his 1968 recording debut LP Twelve String Blues, recorded on a Viking quarter-inch tape recorder, for the Scholar’s tiny Oblivion label. (The label released one other LP by The Langston Hughes Memorial Eclectic Jazz Band.)

After sending tapes to guitarist John Fahey, Kottke was signed to Fahey’s Takoma label, releasing what has come to be called the Armadillo record. Fahey and his manager Denny Bruce soon secured a production deal for Kottke with Capitol Records.

Kottke’s 1971 major-label debut, “Mudlark,” positioned him somewhat uneasily in the singer/songwriter vein, despite his own wishes to remain an instrumental performer. Still, despite arguments with label heads as well as with Bruce, Kottke flourished during his tenure on Capitol, as records like 1972’s “Greenhouse” and 1973’s live “My Feet Are Smiling” and “Ice Water” found him branching out with guest musicians and honing his guitar technique.

With 1975’s Chewing Pine, Kottke reached the U.S. Top 30 for the second time; he also gained an international following thanks to his continuing tours in Europe and Australia.

His collaboration with Phish bassist Mike Gordon, “Clone,” caught audiences’ attention in 2002. Kottke and Gordon followed with a recording in the Bahamas called “Sixty Six Steps,” produced by Leo’s old friend and Prince producer David Z.

Kottke has been awarded two Grammy nominations; a Doctorate in Music Performance by the Peck School of Music at the U of Wisconsin, Milwaukee; and a Certificate of Significant Achievement in Not Playing the Trombone from the U of Texas at Brownsville with Texas Southmost College.

About St. Cecilia Music Center
St. Cecilia Music Center’s mission is to promote the study, appreciation and performance of music in order to enrich the lives of West Michigan residents. The Center fulfills this mission by presenting visiting world-class artists in concert, providing music education for all ages through our School of Music and preserving a historic building for musical activities and community events.