Andy McKee

A short three minute clip.

That's all it took to propel Andy McKee, an uber-talented, innovative, well-respected fingerstyle guitarist to quasi-internet celebrity.


When a live clip of the guitarist performing a number of his tunes, including a mind-bending version of his song “Drifting”, began appearing on youtube.com people started to ask, “Who is this young serious looking man with the shaved head and full beard, attacking his guitar with a serious of slaps and weird strumming patterns?”

The serious looking young man is Andy McKee from Topeka, Kansas who has over the past few years established himself as one of the top fingerstyle guitarists in the world.  In that time he has also released four albums, Nocturne in 2001, Dreamcatcher in 2004, and Art of Motion the following year.  His most recent album, 2007's Gates of Gnomeria, came out at the end of the summer.  His newfound celebrity even led to an appearance on late night talk show Last Call with Carson Daly.

 

"Drifting"

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McKee, who started playing guitar as a teenager, says he always found, “music to be profound.  I loved the way that something powerful could be communicated through sound, especially when no words are involved.  I knew I wanted to be able to communicate that way as soon as I started playing guitar.” 

Soon after starting on the guitar he saw freestyle guitarist Preston Reed perform and was instantly captivated by Reed’s unique playing style.  Fingerstyle not only refers to using the fingers instead of a pick, but also being a able to create three distinct “voices” (the melody, the accompaniment, and the bass) all at once with a single guitar.  McKee was so enamored with this style of playing he dropped out of high school at sixteen and earned his GED so that he could devote more time to developing his craft.

McKee was inspired by early fingerstyle guitarists such as Reed, Don Ross, Michael Hedges, and Bill McLaughlin and his sound echoes their lasting influence on him.  He soon began to develop his own singular approach to fingerstyle that moved past his initial influences.  He developed a unique style that began to incorporate a wide range of innovative and unusual techniques into his playing that moved the genre from simple finger picking and hand slaps to a full range of movements that as Ross says, “Creates sonic architecture worthy of the great modern composers for any instrument.”

For more on McKee, check out his Web site, andymckee.com  

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