Leo Kottke's name gets mentioned far too often when something is being written about Willy Porter. While it certainly is a compliment for any acoustic guitarist to be compared to the nimble-fingered Kottke, it's also safe to say that Porter has been influenced by nearly every great picker and that his playing is brilliant and moving enough to be strictly his own.
Porter, a 37-year-old Milwaukee native, also does an excellent balancing act. While playing guitar is still his main calling card, he's proved on four studio albums and one live CD that he's a soulful vocalist and a songwriter capable of witty and creative lyrics. He's knocked audiences to pieces opening for acts like Paul Simon, Jeff Beck, and Tori Amos, and impressed Jethro Tull guitarist Martin Barre enough to get him to team up with Porter for a tour of the Northeast last fall. Porter is more than ready to shed the regional-favorite label, step out of Kottke's shadow, and become a nationally known performer.