British guitarist to play in Ann ArborWritten by Vicki L. Kroll | | firstname.lastname@example.org
It all began for Adrian Legg in Liverpool — at the airport.
“I met a bloke who said, ‘Do you want to join a band?’ And I said yeah because I thought it would be a nice, sociable thing to do and meet girls,” the guitarist recalled.
“And it was; it worked very well. I met my wife, and we have lots of grandchildren. So as an aid to procreation, the guitar was fantastic.”
Quips fly almost as quickly as his fingers on those strings. The witty Brit has fun writing or playing music.
That’s obvious with songs titled “Chicken Licken’s Last Ride” and “Nefertiti — What a Sweetie!”
“Pieces are a combination of two things: some kind of emotional idea and some kind of technical basis. So there’s this creature that has to get somewhere and it needs a bicycle. If it can’t have a bicycle, then it can’t go anywhere. If there’s a bicycle and no creature, there’s no reason to ride the bicycle,” Legg said.
He peddled on during a call from Mount Laurel, N.J., where he stayed before starting an 18-city U.S. tour.
“Those two things come together at a point where suddenly the song is a song. It’s not just an experiment of exploring; it becomes a song and it has an identity. And when its identity emerges, then it all comes together for me: The fiddling about is around some central character,” he said.
“And if I’m lucky with the title, I get somewhere near the character.”
Oddly enough, the plucky player got a career break when he reached an impasse.
“I started playing the acoustic and I found it conflicted with the electric, so I had a problem between the two of them. Eventually, I went into the instrument industry. I kind of gave up; I couldn’t see where to go with any of it.
“And in the instrument industry, I found out how to make a guitar that would sit between the two, that would have the flexibility of the electric but some of the harmonic richness of the acoustic. At that point, I found what I wanted to do because the instrument would now do it.”
The songwriter is comfortable breezing through a jazzy jam, picking through a country number, revving up for rock, being folky or going classical.
That diversity and his mad skill led to gigs with extraordinaire guitar peers Steve Vai, Joe Satriani and Eric Johnson. Legg has been voted Guitarist of the Decade by Guitarist magazine and Best Acoustic Fingerstylist four years in a row by Guitar Player readers.
“There’s no difference to me between Elizabeth Cotten and Lonnie Mack; they both came to me with the same kind of feeling: It’s the American guitar. I think that might have been difficult for people [in the United States]. They thought of me as being very eclectic, but I don’t think I am. It’s just what the American guitar looks like from 3,000 or 4,000 miles away,” he said.
Legg is touring in support of his 2012 best of disc and will play at 8 p.m. Oct. 7 at the Ark in Ann Arbor. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $17.50.