Web’s double treat—Kenning and Porter

n Charlotte’s Web has two musical treats in store for this Halloween weekend.

Kraig Kenning

On Friday, Oct. 31, guitarist Kraig Kenning will perform at 8 p.m. at the Mendelssohn Club, 415 N. Church St. This notable singer/songwriter/national slide guitar champion is a man of many talents. Call him contemporary folk, blues, roots, rock, American finger style or Americana.

Kenning, armed with his dobro and passionate lyrics, reminds us how important and potent music can be. Touring nonstop for the past decade, more than 200 dates a year, has molded Kenning into one of the finest live performers on the planet.

Performances have inspired comparisons with Eric Clapton, Duane Allman, Bob Dylan and Jackson Browne—to name a few. His fingerstyle is up to par with Leo Kottke and Willy Porter, his vocals reminiscent of Bruce Cockburn, and his overall performance and presentation are equal with any of today’s top singer/songwriters.

“What happens with my audience is like a little miracle,”says Kenning. “I’ve worked hard to be able to give as much as I do, and it’s awesome to know they appreciate it. It’s amazing, like a circle of energy, and I’m a messenger or supplier. I can feel the music move through me to my audience and then back again.”

Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 at the door.

Willy Porter

Willy Porter gets November off to a rousing start with his 8 p.m. performance this Saturday, at Memorial Hall, 211 N. Main St.

If you were there when he kicked off On The Waterfront, you know he’s the real deal. Acoustic Guitar magazine calls him “The triple threat, great singing (sweet and strong), kick-drum, bass-groove guitar playing and quality song writing.”

Willy Porter has been blowing audiences away from coast to coast with his top-notch playing, but he is also a master songwriter. He has the ability to write deeply about unconditional love, faith and humanity without self-consciousness or sentimentality—a refreshing quality at a time when our musical airwaves are filled with artistic mawkishness and self-serving piety. He paints poignant songs with a wide emotional palette, from electric rockers to moving ballads, both aggressive and tender.

In High Wire Live, his first live album, listeners who have never experienced Porter on stage can hear the quietly spellbinding majesty and improvisation of Porter in his natural milieu. Porter has long been known for his innovative and expressive guitar playing, which the press have called everything from “startling” to “dazzling” to “killer.” The Boston Globe compares his playing to speed picker Leo Kottke. But it’s his songs that get most of the attention lately. High Wire Live features the signpost songs of Porter’s career, the ones his fans request most often.

Tickets are $12 in advance or $15 at the door. Tickets are available at the Mendelssohn Club, 415 N. Church St., 964-9713 (Kenning performance only); Rockford Area Arts Council, 713 E. State St., 963-6765; The Postal Shoppe, Edgebrook Center, 397-7301; and Tin Whistle, N. Main & Auburn, 963-0270; or by mail with check and SASE, 10928 N. Main, Rockton, IL 61072. For Web information, call 964-2238.

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