Adrian LeggTue. Jul 10, 2012 at 8:00pm EDT (-04:00)
21 and Over
England's Guitar magazine observes how Adrian Legg is "impossible to categorize as a player." True indeed. And that's largely because he defies easy categorization as a person. Renowned and awarded for his unique amalgamation of acoustic and electric guitar and how he blends diverse musical styles and inspirations into a distinctive sound all his own, Legg has been hailed as "one of the wizards" of the guitar (Philadelphia Enquirer), "an adventurer" (Newsday) and "a genius" (Los Angeles Reader). In addition to his distinguished career as a live performer, recording artist and composer, he is an innovator in guitar design and amplification technology, an instructor, photographer, writer and author, witty and engaging between song onstage raconteur, and an at large commentator for National Public Radio's "All Things Considered," among other gifts, pursuits and interests. Hence it's no wonder that What's Up magazine hails London-born Legg as "the greatest British import since Newcastle Brown Ale."
The best way to come to understand the fullness of Adrian Legg's talent is, in the end, to simply listen. And there's no better place to begin to know his work or hear it again yet anew than his 10th U.S. album release, Slow Guitar, on which he revisits 13 of his songs that are cherished by his fans and followers. "The ones that get requested the most are the slow ones," he explains. "Now and again people ask for the fast ones. But the ones they related to were the slow ones, and that was wonderful. To make something that is musically meaningful to somebody else is really quite special. "And eventually I thought, well, I should put them all together and re-record them, because I think about them differently now," says Legg. "What happens is that you come out with a new tune and you play it to people, and after you've played it to a lot of different people, if they like it, it has another kind of dimension to it. It has all those people in it as well. It's not just you in it anymore; it's something that's shared. It's quite stronger than it was."
"I'm a collision between European classicism and the American guitar," is how Legg encapsulates his music. "I make up tunes and play them on the guitar. On a good day people give me money for it. That's it: the beginning and end there, and all that's in between." Well, yes, but then again not quite all. In doing so, he has won numerous awards and accolades. The readers of the U.K.'s Guitarist magazine voted him Acoustic Guitarist of the Decade (1984-94), and in Guitar Player's readers' poll he was named Best Acoustic Fingerstylist for four years running (1993-96). Music critics reach for the thesaurus to try to describe him. "A guitarist of astonishing virtuosity, his imagination and melodic invention seem unbounded," raves Q magazine. "To say that Legg plays a good guitar is like saying Menuhin saws a fine fiddle," notes Music Week. "This man is ridiculously talented." Guitar icon Joe Satriani calls him as "simply the best acoustic guitar player I've ever heard.