Kelly Valleau is one of my favorite guitarist not only because of his technical prowess, but because he has a unique ability to translate rock classics to solo fingerstyle guitar. He started playing electric guitar at the age of 15 and made his first Indie CD at the age of 21. His early influences were David Gilmour, Jimmy Page, Tommy Iommi, Randy Rhoads, James Hetfield, and Kirk Hammett.
About ten years ago, he hung up his electric guitar and devoted much of his time to traditional classical guitar studies. Much of his early acoustic work was very classical/Spanish. Then in 2006 he attended the Canadian Guitar Festival and the performances by Don Ross and others grabbed his attention. He moved into the contemporary acoustic world incorporating percussive techniques into his music, although his tunings are still standard. He’s also moved from playing classical nylon stringed guitars to steel string, which he finds a more moving instrument.
The selections I’ve included below reflect his more recent ventures. So sit back and enjoy one of the premier solo acoustic guitarists on the scene today.
The Unforgiven: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6imqOqVsn8
Sultans of Swing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UI8tvq_b2vQ
Message in a bottle: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4kxOoJ2xi8
Sweet Home Alabama: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KagFJDhtUA
Heart-shaped Box: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Ur0WqqqeUI
Mad World: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpJXJX2EzK4
The A Team: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wu9BWJ-rzas
I’m pairing Kelly with a 2009 Michael David Earthquake Petite Sirah that I bought on sale for $23.00. Michael David Winery makes some of my favorites that include Petite Petite Sirah and Seven Deadly Zins Zinfandel. Earthquake is the reserve level wines from the vineyard. There’s a bit of Cabernet Sauvignon blended into the wine that gives it a mouthwatering palate of blackberries, chocolate, coffee, and Christmas spices. Same goes for the aromas. It finishes strong, but beware, this one’s 15% alcohol, so don’t plan on driving. Then again, with Kelly’s music, why would you want to go anywhere. Enjoy!