Photo Credit - Jason Dailey

Andy McKee plays Stage One FTC on Tue. Oct. 14 @ 7:45 P.M.                        Photo Credit – Jason Dailey

Andy McKee, self-taught acoustic guitarist, continues to take his music to new levels through the use of altered tunings, percussive techniques, harmonics, tapping, rhythmic melodies and the style of playing over the guitar neck.

McKee became fascinated with the acoustic guitar at the age of 13, inspired by fingerstyle guitar playing. At the age of 17, he began to teach lessons and in 2001 made a name for himself after placing third at the National Fingerstyle Guitar Championships.

You may remember McKee from his hit track “Drifting,” which reached more than 50 million viewers on YouTube in 2006. In addition, songs featured on his 2006 album “Art of Motion” such as “Rylynn,” “For My Father” and “Into The Ocean,” all feature McKee’s creative approach on acoustic and harp guitar. Furthermore, McKee won the silver medal for fingerstyling by Acoustic Guitar Magazine in December 2008.

McKee realizes that it is much harder to make a name for yourself through YouTube today versus early 2000. “Yet, it is a good way to learn how to play guitar,” added McKee. “You have both audio and visuals.”

Currently, McKee is on tour across the United States and will be starting his east coast run at the Fairfield Theatre Company’s StageOne on Tuesday, Oct. 14. Expect to hear all of your favorites and more when McKee takes StageOne with two 45 minute sets.

When he begins to play his harp guitar, McKee said, “The audience starts rumbling and cameras are out.” It is captivating each and every time.

Songs from McKee’s most recent extended play “Mythmaker,” such as the title track, continue to push the envelope of McKee’s creative genius. In addition, the extended play incorporates electric guitar and piano elements in the pursuit of new textures.

McKee has never thought of himself as a percussive guitarist, but instead is driven by rhythm. In his track “Hunter’s Moon” off of his 2010 album “Joyland,” all techniques spill over intricate rhythms and soothing melodies. McKee begins the composition by playing the chords over the top of the neck of the guitar, while providing a steady backbeat on the rear body of the guitar with his right hand.

As the song progresses, McKee moves fluidly from guitar body to neck, playing the “ins” and “outs” of the instrument. Like all of McKee’s tunes, “Hunter’s Moon” is lyric-less, but follows a similar verse and chorus structure. At one point the guitar is tight and percussive, and the next moment McKee open fires on all strings, letting them resonate throughout the audience.

McKee is overall excited to be on the road touring and is looking forward to returning to both New England and Connecticut. “It is especially exciting because Connecticut is now home to one of the most renowned harp guitarist, Stephen Bennett,” added McKee.

McKee will bring originals in addition to his renditions of the rock band Toto’s song “Africa” and of Tear for Fears’ “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.”

After McKee’s YouTube success, many guitarists aspire to learn from his technique. Currently, you can purchase guitar tabs on Andy McKee’s website and there are several tutorials of McKee’s songs on YouTube. With 10 years of teaching under his belt, McKee hopes to release an instructional DVD in the future.

After StageOne, McKee will head off to various venues throughout New England including, Regattabar on Oct. 15 in Boston, Mass, B.B. King Blues Club on Oct. 16 in New York, N.Y., World Cafe on Oct. 17 in Philadelphia, Pa. and Bridge Street Live on Oct. 18 in Collinsville, Conn..

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