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Get To Know: Guitarist Andy McKee

October 2, 2014

Andy McKee, guitarist, Blumenthal Performing ArtsGuitar players, rejoice! Andy McKee, considered one of the world’s best soloists, will be in Charlotte soon.

The virtuoso acoustic guitarist will play Oct. 21 at McGlohon Theater at Spirit Square. Tickets for An Evening With Andy McKee start at $22.50. Click here for more info and to get tickets.

Here’s what you need to know before you go to the show!

McKee gained fame in one of the first truly viral YouTube videos. Self-described as “just this guy from Topeka, Kansas, who kind of blew up on the Internet about a week before Christmas” in 2006, he became one of Candyrat Records’ best-selling artists after their video of “Drifting” was promoted by users at Digg, a news aggregation website. For a time, three of McKee’s videos were concurrently the three most watched on YouTube. (“Drifting” has more than 50 million views … and counting.)

He is a finger stylist, a technique of playing the guitar by plucking the strings directly with the fingertips, fingernails, or picks attached to fingers, as opposed to flat picking.

According to one interview, the guitarist has collaborated with everyone that he ever wanted to: Eric Johnson, John Petrucci, Don Ross, Preston Reed and Billy McLaughlin.

McKee started playing guitar at age 13, though he was mostly interested in electric guitar solos and heavy metal. At 16, he told the Sacramento Bee that he saw Preston Reed perform and discovered a new world. “It was a pivotal experience seeing the way he played,” McKee said. “He was really trying to cover all the aspects of music on one guitar – the rhythmic, harmonic and melodic ideas – in such an interesting way.”

McKee has played with diverse artists such as Dream Theater, a progressive metal band, and Prince. Yep, that Prince. McKee played alongside Prince on the Purple One’s Welcome 2 Australia tour. McKee played with the band on “Purple Rain,” “Sometimes It Snows in April,” “Mountains,” “Dance Electric,” and “Love, Thy Will Be Done.” He opened the Melbourne concert with “Ebon Coast,” “Drifting” and “The Friend I Never Met.” He talks about the experience on this video of “Rylynn,” the song that led Prince to McKee.

In his latest release, the “Mythmaker” EP, McKee goes electric. He got some heat from fans through social media for playing an electric guitar. He also takes to the piano on the EP. Check out this one-take video that he did for Guitar World’s Acoustic Nation before a show in San Francisco.

By the way, McKee manages his website and all of his social media. So if you post on his Facebook page or send him a tweet, it’s all him. Follow McKee on Facebook.com/andymckeemusic, Twitter.com/TheRealMcKee and Instagram.com/TheRealMcKee.

Don’t miss your chance to spend An Evening With Andy McKee on Oct. 21 in the intimate McGlohon Theater!

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