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Tonight's Leo Kottke concert, a kick-off to the new season of Performing Arts in the Bitterroot, is sold out.

“We are thrilled by the response from our audience for our upcoming series,” Bitterroot Performing Arts Council’s Executive Director Laurie Ruffner said. “Leo Kottke selling out is the beginning of an exciting season of truly thrilling performances by our new line-up of performing artists.”

Kottke is an internationally renowned acoustic guitarist who developed his unique Americana picking style as a coffee-house performer in the 1960s. His most famous recording is nicknamed the “Armadillo Album” because of the art on the cover and was first released in 1969. It has been re-released several times since then with various record labels and accompanied by a string of other stylized albums made popular by his decades of folk festival performances.

Kottke’s sense of humor is almost as entertaining as his talent with the guitar. He’s overcome much adversity during the process of developing his own style and has always played with partial hearing loss. He also worked through extensive nerve damage and tendinitis in his hands in the 1980s due to his vigorous picking, but adjusted his ergonomics and has continued to play with passion.

Through the years, Kottke has received two Grammy nominations and has collaborated with great musicians including Lyle Lovett, Rickie Lee Jones and bassist Mike Gordon of the band Phish.

“We have admired and enjoyed Leo for many years, but never had the opportunity to see him live,” said Peggy Tonon, president of the board for the Bitterroot Performing Arts Council. She and her husband, Warren Neyenhuis, are enthusiastic sole sponsors of the performance.

“We jumped at the chance to help bring Leo Kottke to the Bitterroot,” Tonon said. “I have always loved his music and thought that would be so great.”

Kottke will perform one 90-minute set tonight to the full house, with no intermission.

“We wanted to make sure our audience members realized we wouldn’t be having an intermission tonight so they can prepare in advance,” Ruffner said. “Once he gets going, he won’t stop until he’s done.”

Tonon said the sell-out show is a good sign of things to come and reinvigorates the board’s commitment to the mission of the non-profit organization.

“We are so excited that it’s a sell-out,” she said. “It means a lot of me and helps me re-double my efforts and enthusiasm to bring these amazing artists to the Bitterroot.”

Ruffner said that they have sold more season tickets than last year, but for those interested in the same-seat perks and reduced ticket price of a subscription, patrons can still buy a four-show flex package by stopping by the box office.

The next performance of the six-show series is the new-age string trio, Simply Three, at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 14. Tickets are on sale online at www.bitterrootperformingarts.org or at the BPAC Box Office in Signal Square at 127 W. Main Street in Hamilton. For more information, follow their Facebook page or call 406-363-7946.

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