Leo Kottke 6-16-07 Photo by Anthony Pepitone

Leo Kottke (born September 11, 1945) is an acoustic guitarist. He is known for a fingerpicking style that draws on blues, jazz, and folk music, and for syncopated, polyphonic melodies. He overcame a series of personal obstacles, including partial loss of hearing and a nearly career-ending bout with tendon damage in his right hand, to emerge as a widely recognized master of his instrument. He currently resides in the Minneapolis area with his family.

Focusing primarily on instrumental composition and playing, Kottke also sings sporadically, in an unconventional yet expressive baritone described by himself as sounding like "geese farts on a muggy day". In concert, Kottke intersperses humorous and often bizarre monologues with vocal and instrumental selections from throughout his career, played solo on his 6- and 12-string guitars ... (Read more at Wikipedia.)

Links to Peel

Leo Kottke - Vaseline Machine Gun

Leo Kottke - Vaseline Machine Gun

Leo Kottke's second album, 6- and 12-String Guitar, would have attracted Peel's attention, if only because it was recorded for John Fahey's Takoma label and had a striking sleeve design featuring an armadillo. But it was well received by critics, made Kottke's name and remains his best-known album. It sold more copies in the U.S. than any of Fahey's albums and in 1970-71 received airplay on shows such as Peel's (although no evidence has been found so far in available playlists) and on the Monte Carlo-based station Radio Geronimo. Thanks to this exposure, it was popular in the London shops which sold imported LPs, until its UK release on the Sonet label.

After that, Kotttke signed to Capitol and made a number of LPs for the label before moving to Chrysalis. Peel played tracks from them as they appeared and booked the guitarist for a session when he visited the UK in 1977. Kottke also recorded a couple of concert shows for Radio 1. He wasn't as big a favourite of Peel's as John Fahey, and doesn't appear to feature in any 1980s playlists, but he was the only guitarist from what was sometimes called the "Fahey school" who Peel played extensively on his shows. The DJ revisited Leo Kottke's early work during the 1990s and 2000s, especially the 6- and 12-String Guitar LP.

Festive Fifty Entries

  • None.


One session. No known commercial release.

1. Recorded: 1977-02-07. First broadcast: 10 February 1977. Repeated: DD Month YYY

  • Scarlatti Rip Off / Easter / San Antonio Rose/America The Beautiful/Machine Gun /Mona Ray/Morning / Pamela Brown

Other Shows Played

  • 26 February 2000 (BFBS): A Low Thud (LP-Burnt Lips) Chrysalis (JP: "That's Leo Kottke. I was going to say Leo Sayer: that would have been a slip of the tongue. Same label.")
  • 09 March 2000: A Low Thud (LP-Burnt Lips) Chrysalis


  1. Kottke is mentioned in the artist listing for this show in David Cavanagh's Good Night And Good Riddance (p.111), but no track title is given.

External Links