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Music Notes: Leo Kottke, Federale and Indigo Kidd

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Leo Kottke, the rare performer who got pop-famous as a solo instrumentalist, is universally regarded as among the world’s finest acoustic guitarists.

And later this month he’s coming to Ellensburg, population 20,977. That’s not the sort of thing that just happens.

Turns out there’s this doctor in Ellensburg, a guy named Larry Birger, and this Larry Birger is a music lover with a vision. Last year he founded a nonprofit called Learn From the Masters Music Outreach aimed at bringing music and music education to people who otherwise might not get it.

This isn’t the organization’s first top-quality event — Mandy Harvey and Billy McLaughlin performed under the LMMO banner at the Icicle Creek Center for the Arts in Leavenworth this spring — but it’s the biggest. Kottke is a legend among guitar geeks, as a serial winner of Guitar Player magazine’s Best Acoustic Guitarist award and a guy who’s put nine folk-guitar songs on the Billboard Hot 200.

The show is set for 7 p.m. Sept. 27 at in the Hertz Concert Hall inside the McIntyre Music Building on the campus of Central Washington University. Tickets are $15, $10 for students and seniors.

And if you’re a guitarist yourself, there’s a three-day The Music of Leo Kottke Workshop at CWU, including 14 hours of instruction led by guitarist and guitar historian John Stropes, a frequent Kottke collaborator. At $375, that’s a bit pricier. For information

on either event visit

Now some other notes from the local scene:

The Seasons Performance Hall and the Yakima-Morelia Sister City Association have a wild, psychedelic, highly dramatic evening of entertainment in the works. Portland band Federale, featuring Brian Jonestown Massacre bassist Collin Hegna, headlines the Sept. 13 event with its Spaghetti Western music. (Think Ennio Morricone but filtered through, like, a Nick Cave or Roky Erickson lens.)


This stuff is atmospheric and surreal and teeming with epic romance and violence like “Once Upon a Time in the West.” And for extra drama, the classic 1952 Elia Kazan, Marlon Brando film “Viva Zapata” will be projected on the walls during the show.

It’s also The Seasons’ membership celebration night, so there will be announcements about upcoming shows, special mezcal cocktails and an art opening with work from Susan Hahn. All of that starts at 5 p.m., and the Federale show starts at 7:30. Tickets are $15 and $30. For information visit or call 509-453-1888.

It’s almost Fresh Hop Ale Festival time again, which means a couple of things: great, unique beers and a solid music lineup. It starts at 5:15 on Oct. 5 with Bodies on the Beach, the new(ish) rock ‘n’ roll project from longtime Yakima music scene pillar and Planes on Paper singer-songwriter Navid Eliot, who moved back to Seattle last year but whose impact on the local scene over the past decade can’t be overstated. Bodies on the Beach is good, too, for the record. It’s a different side of Eliot that should fit well with the Fresh Hop vibe.

Bodies On The Beach // "Everybody Knows" - Leonard Cohen

SCENE favorite Bart Budwig out of Enterprise, Ore., follows Bodies on the Beach. As anyone who’s seen him on his many visits to Yakima over the past few years will recall, Budwig has a great mix of humor and pathos and the ability to go from a whisper to a howl in a split-second. He’s a dynamic performer and a songwriter of real depth.

Four Leaf Clover by Bart Budwig

The headliners are Ezra Bell, a Portland folk act that killed earlier this year at the Yakima Folklife Festival.

Ezra Bell - Tourist

It’s been a minute since we checked in with Indigo Kidd, the outstanding Yakima rock band that moved to Vegas a couple of years ago to be an outstanding Vegas rock band. The band’s singer, Eli Curtsinger, was just on an episode of the Vegas-centric podcast “Neighborhood Noise,” discussing where the band has been and where it’s headed. You can find that at

Indigo Kidd - Nicotine Queen

Also, they put out a new video for their 2017 standout track “Nicotine Queen,” a catchy-as-all-get-out number that I get stuck in my head about once every two weeks. It’s a lo-fi video, mostly featuring Curtsinger lip-synching while pumping gas, driving around and doing other mundane tasks. It fits the song perfectly. You can find that one on YouTube.