Leo Kottke & Mike Gordon

Sixty Six Steps (RCA)

ACL Music Festival Reviews

Leo Kottke & Mike Gordon

Sixty Six Steps (RCA)

Leo Kottke and Mike Gordon's first collaboration, 2002's Clone, was a cordial listen. It had its tentative moments, fragments during which it seemed they were still discovering where the whole thing would lead them. With Sixty Six Steps, the master acoustic guitarist and former bass player for Phish seem to have the whole thing figured out quite nicely, and it's revealed in the way they play off one another, stretching their abilities in surprising fashion. Most attention will be paid to the wild array of cover tunes the duo chooses to expand upon. There's a droll cover of Seventies popster Lobo's hit "Rings," a spot-on take of Peter Green and Fleetwood Mac's "Oh Well" that captures the tune's mysticism, as well as an unlikely deconstruction of Aerosmith's "Sweet Emotion" that bubbles and perks. Phish-heads will be particularly interested in the near-Afrobeat, miles-deep groove in their rendition of "Ya Mar," long a concert staple for Gordon's old group. Neither Kottke nor Gordon will ever be remembered for their vocal abilities, but that doesn't detract from the joy of the music they're creating. The sparks arcing between the two make Sixty Six Steps an uncommon delight. (Friday, 12:30pm, SBC stage)

***

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