When the tickets for Leo Kottke came on sale, and Georgia asked if she should buy tickets (of course), I said yes, but I looked at the Rams Head ad, and noticed that Sonny Landreth was also playing. I mentioned that I wouldn't mind seeing Sonny as well, because I'd read about his slide guitar technique in"Guitar Player" magazine, am a fan (and a poor practitioner) of slide. When tickets for the Kottke concert arrived, I was pleasantly surprised to find tickets for Sonny Landreth there as well. Also listed, and not shown on the original ad was Tom Principato, as an opening act. Principato, although he has played globally, is a Washington D.C. area standard, whom we had never seen yet, and so this was a bonus.
You've already seen (or at least had the opportunity to see) how our trip to Annapolis to see Leo Kottke went. Fortunately, our trip this time was without car failure (hey - I got the Subaru back today!). We had dinner at the Rams Head, and got to the theater with time to order drinks and a desert before Principato and his band came on stage. He is an extremely accomplished guitar player; pretty much a finger picker with a stong bluesy style.
We were in the first row, just to the right of the band. I enjoyed it. Here's a random YouTube that will give you the flavor:
For the last song of Principato's set, Sonny Landreth came out and played slide on the song. Just excellent!
After the break, and a reset of the stage, Sonny and his band came on. Sonny is a little skinny guy, and makes his various strats seem large (unlike, say, Popa Chubby, who makes them look tiny)... He started into an instrumental piece, and it was immediately apparent to me that there simply cannot be any better slide player in the world. I saw his fingers do things I would consider impossible over and over; I simply can't imagine what more you could ask out of a guitar and a slide... from Wikipedia:
Landreth is best known for his slide playing, having developed a technique where he also frets notes and plays chords and chord fragments behind the slide while he plays. Landreth plays with the slide on his little finger, so that his other fingers have more room to fret behind the slide. He's also known for his right-hand technique, which involves tapping, slapping, and picking strings, using all of the fingers on his right hand.A You Tube from his site with a him showing some of his moves.
The music was mostly high power rock with a strong strain of Zydeco (Sonny is from Southwest Louisiana). The music was nearly deafening. The vocals were muddy and hard to hear, but the guitar was just awesome.
One of the coolest things (besides the Sonny) was his bass player. Another little guy, looked about 70, skinny, silver haired, dressed all in black, and played that bass to beat hell. A YouTube to get the flavor; just crank it up 'till it stings...