Known for movies

Leo Kottke is an American acoustic guitarist and singer-songwriter. He is known for his fingerpicking style and his use of alternate tunings. Kottke’s work is frequently compared with that of John Fahey, and he has been influenced by Taj Mahal, Jerry Garcia, and John Prine, among others.

Born in Athens, Georgia, Kottke began playing the guitar at the age of 11. He was given a 12-string guitar for his 12th birthday, and within a year he was proficient enough to play in public. Kottke moved to Minnesota in 1964 to attend Macalester College. He began playing in coffeehouses and at the Scholar, a folk club in St. Paul.

Kottke’s first album, 12-String Blues, was released in 1969. He has since released more than 20 albums, including his most recent, Try and Stop Me (2019). Kottke has toured extensively throughout his career, both as a solo artist and with other musicians, including Lyle Lovett, Emmylou Harris, and Mark Knopfler.

Kottke’s guitar playing is characterized by a fingerpicking style that incorporates elements of blues, jazz, and folk music. He often uses alternate tunings, which allows him to create unusual sounding chord progressions and melodies. Kottke is also known for his sense of humor and his between-song banter.

Kottke has been nominated for two Grammy Awards and has been inducted into the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame. He continues to tour and perform regularly.

General Info

Full NameLeo Kottke

Social profile links



North Country2005performer: "Girl Of The North Country"
The Ballad of Jack and Rose2005performer: "Busted Bicycle" 1969, "Coolidge Rising" 1969 / writer: "Busted Bicycle" 1969, "Coolidge Rising" 1969
When a Man Loves a Woman1994writer: "Running from Mercy"
Days of Heaven1978performer: "Enderlin" / writer: "Enderlin"
Breakdown1974performer: "The Tennessee Toad", "Vaseline Machine Gun" - uncredited / writer: "The Tennessee Toad", "Vaseline Machine Gun" - uncredited
Acapulco Gold1973Documentary performer: "The Sailor's Grave on the Prairie", "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring", "Watermelon", "Vaseline Machine Gun"
Oceans1971Documentary performer: "Vaseline Machine Gun" - uncredited / writer: "Vaseline Machine Gun" - uncredited


Independent Lens2006TV Series documentary 1 episode
Little Treasure1985
17 Days Down the Line1972Documentary short

Music Department

Days of Heaven1978composer: additional music


Austin City Limits1993TV Series documentary
Leo Kottke: Home & Away1989TV Movie documentary
A Prairie Home Companion: The Second Annual Farewell Performance1988TV MovieHimself
WWF Club1980TV SeriesHimself (1983)
Rock Concert1974TV SeriesHimself

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

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