IF YOU GO
England’s Adrian Legg has spent decades as one of the world’s most unique and talented guitarists. Merging acoustic and electric guitar and a finger style picking and tapping technique that is difficult to define, Legg has deservedly earned accolades from a long list of fellow guitar masters including Eric Johnson, Joe Satriani and Steve Vai.
The epitomy of musical virtuosity and a captivating storyteller, the award-winning guitarist is currently touring the U.S. in support of his latest double CD release, “Adrian Legg Live.”
“Playing live is the whole point...,” says Legg, from London, England. “Everyone makes a journey, an effort; we all come together – me, the audience, the people who run the venue – to share this wonderful, universal, human emotional interaction. This is where music lives.”
“People kept asking for an album with the stories on and the opportunity to record one properly came up with the gig at Studio E,” adds Legg. “Jeff Martin, the album’s mixer and the man who mastered the record had everything organized so it was a normal gig but with many more cables. I just had to try to hit fewer clams than usual.”
“When a new piece comes together it can be special,” says Legg. “What was a series of disjointed ideas seems to reach a point where it develops its own identity and becomes something separate from me to which I owe a duty of care. It confirms its identity when I’ve played it onstage and gains its strength from that.”
“A performer doesn’t usually see it from the other side of the proscenium, so it always comes as at least a surprise, but I’m happy that Jeff did a good job of capturing it,” says Legg. “I’m always too conscious of the things, I should have played better to actually be pleased - they come shrieking out of the playback speakers accusing me. Sometimes years later I might hear an ancient recording and think, ‘Oh, that’s not bad actually,’ but it’s rare - usually I hear the mistakes. I went to hear violinist Kyung Wha Chung being interviewed this year, and she said something very similar, so I realized it’s not just me who’s uncomfortable with recordings. I hope fans enjoy it as a kind of once removed version of a gig they missed, and hope this is what they were asking for.”
Legg’s accomplishments on the guitar have afforded him the opportunity to give back his artistry to aspiring guitarists through guitar instruction, and published books and videos on guitar technique. He has been a contributing commentator for National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered” as well as responsible for guitar versions of the show’s theme music.
Humbled by fan adulation and critical acclaim, Legg is quick to downplay his role in evolution of the guitar and, instead, expresses his gratitude and his appreciation to the instrument that has allowed him to share his creativity to audiences around the globe.
“I just see the slightly lost guy who doesn’t fit in very well,” says Legg. “I think the guitar is a wonderfully flexible instrument with a history of being adapted by musicians to suit their widely varying purposes, so if anything, I think my hacking is a small part of the evolution of the instrument.”
Riding the wave of success in Europe, Legg’s debut U.S. album release, “Guitars and Other Cathedrals” in 1990, opened the door for what has evolved into decades of admiration from guitar enthusiasts on American soil.
Legg’s legend found him ultimately performing at the Montreux Jazz Festival as well as sharing the stage on concert tours with Richard Thompson, David Lindley, Joe Satriani, Eric Johnson and Steve Vai.
“It’s lovely when I know I’ll see some old friends,” says Legg. “I look forward to them all, a cliché eh? But it’s true.”
“I’m grateful for the continuing opportunity to do what I love - it really is that simple,” adds Legg. “Pinnacle moments tend to be learning successes. I’ve told students that if they can’t play something all they have to do is practice it slowly, carefully, and it will come together. I’m still dumbfounded when that works for me - I look back at the preceding shambles and wonder how on earth it happened. It has truly been a great joy.”
IF YOU GO
What: Adrian Legg
Where: The Kennett Flash, 102 Sycamore Alley, Kennett Square
When: Concert is at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 19.
Info.: For tickets and information, visit www.kennettflash.org. To stay up to date with Adrian Legg visit www.adrianlegg.com