Leo Kottke is an acoustic guitarist. Born in Athens, Georgia, Kottke moved with his parents so frequently that he was raised in twelve different states. As a youth living in Muskogee, Oklahoma, he was influenced by folk and delta blues music, notably that of Mississippi John Hurt. Kottke learned to play trombone and violin before trying the guitar and developing his own unconventional picking style.
He is best known for a fingerpicking style that draws on blues, jazz, and folk music, and for syncopated, polyphonic melodies. He has overcome 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 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. In concert, Kottke intersperses humorous and often bizarre monologues with vocal and instrumental selections from throughout his career, played solo on six and twelve string guitars.