Topeka-born Andy McKee cut his teeth on the electric guitar, but after hearing Preston Reed play in Topeka, he decided to dedicate his talent and time to the acoustic guitar. He has found great success as an acoustic artist; McKee's videos have reached more than 150 million YouTube viewers to date.
On October 12, McKee, Antoine Dufour and Stephen Bennett embarked on the Guitar Masters tour. On Thursday, October 13, the guitarists perform at the Lawrence Arts Center (940 New Hampshire) at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $26.50 advance, $27 at the door.
The Pitch recently spoke with McKee about the Guitar Masters Tour.
The Pitch: Has the tour started yet?
Andy McKee: We're starting the tour today. Today's the first show, in Colorado Springs. Earlier this year, I was touring in Europe. This coming tour is a bit different. For one, on the earlier tour, I was out doing solo guitar. The tour starting up is the Guitar Masters tour. It's me, Antoine Dufour and Stephen Bennett. We all have our own sets during the show and do some collaborative stuff at the end together. It'll be great fun to play with these other amazing acoustic guitar players. It'll be a cool night of modern acoustic-guitar music.
How did the tour come to be? Are you friends with the other guitarists?
Yeah. The other two guitar players are friends of mine. We've played together in the past, but it's been quite a few years. When the opportunity came up to be a part of this tour, I thought it would be a great thing to do. To see these guys and get to play with them again.
Did growing up in the Midwest influence your desire to be more creative, learn how to play?
Well, I guess for me, I started out on the electric guitar when I was 13 and I switched to the acoustic guitar after I saw a guitar workshop by a great acoustic guitarist named Preston Reed. That was held in Topeka, and that was when I really began wanting to start focusing on the acoustic guitar. I was really inspired by all of these modern acoustic-guitar guys. One of my biggest influences is another guitarist named Mike Hedges, who's from Oklahoma. So maybe there's just something about the Midwest. It's so boring, you can't help but get creative.
What are your future plans?
After this tour, I've got the rest of the year off. I've got a son who was born earlier this year, so I'm going to take some time at home and chill out a bit, but next year I'll start touring again and be quite busy trying to go to someplace I haven't been before, like South America and parts of Asia. I'm working on new material right now as well, so hopefully I'll have a new album out next year sometime.