MARQUEE - Adrian Legg, the six-string magician

The renowned guitar virtuoso will perform Jan. 14 at the Marcus Whitman Hotel & Conference Center


To watch and hear Adrian Legg play guitar is to enter a multi-dimensional state -- while your ear hears the music, your eyes see the movements.

And suddenly, your soul is dancing.

Billed as a "guitar virtuoso," and "wizard," the British musician will be in concert at the Marcus Whitman Hotel and Conference Center at 8 p.m. Jan. 14.

Legg, who displays his art via his nimble fingers, plays custom guitars that are a hybrid of electric and acoustic, and his unique fingerstyle guitar technique mixes an alternating-bass style with harmonics, banjo-peg retuning and single or double-string bending.

As well, Legg adds storytelling into his performance, weaving wry observations between songs. Jim McGuinn, owner of Hot Poop Stereo & Video and an avid fan of Legg's, labels the patter as nearly equal to the music. "It's a huge bonus. He will tell you what's wrong with America and keep you in stitches while he's at it."

Sure, people can stay home and listen to Legg's CDs, he said. "But then they wouldn't hear that part. As soon as he starts to play, I get muscle aches from smiling."

Doing all this for several decades has won the musician and composer more accolades than can be counted on his fast-flying digits. In addition, Legg has authored a book -- the Bible of customizing guitars, McGuinn said -- and has taught technical mastery of strings.

Legg was voted Guitar Player Magazine's "Best Acoustic Fingerstyle Guitarist" four years in a row and England's Guitarist Magazine's "Guitarist of the Decade."

A number of his albums have been voted either "Best Overall Guitar Album" or "Best Acoustic Guitar Album" by Guitar Player Magazine; including 1992's "Guitar For Mortals."

In between all that, Legg has performed in Walla Walla a number of times, noted his manager, Brad Stewart. "It's always a place we know there are fans ... he is very, very big on playing live."

Legg has a number of things going for him, aside from his 10 talented fingers, McGuinn said. For starters, his music is impossible to slot into one category, or even two. Second, as an older musician, Legg has developed a drive and passion that makes him into what McGuinn called "one of the best rock talents in the world. He doesn't jam. He knows what note he's going for every time. Everything he plays, he takes to a different level." Guitar players always have an opinion about everything, he added, especially each other. "Adrian's the one guitar player no one has anything bad to say about."

The musician is touring to promote his new work, "Slow Guitar" which features compositions from over the last two decades that audiences not only asked to hear at Legg's shows, but also shared stories about the significance of those songs in their lives, Stewart said.

For Legg, the experience of sharing his music live has its effect on his performances of the material, he said in a press release. "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."

For those who want to share that experience with Legg, tickets are $15 and can be purchased at Marcus Whitman Hotel & Conference Center, Hot Poop Stereo & Video and at the door. The show is appropriate for all ages.


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