The Santa Rita Connection: Pete Huttlinger

| June 22, 2005

The Santa Rita Connection: Pete Huttlinger

Pete Huttlinger must moisturize with butter each night, because his fingers are slick. This national fingerpicking champion guitarist is so dexterous that his solo guitar album, The Santa Rita Connection, sounds like mad-bluegrass-party-people fiercely enjoying their craft. And there ain't no multiple tracks here.

This is not your-college-pal-with-an-acoustic-Fender-on-the-front-porch kind of entertaining; this is brilliant musicianship-the CD you show off to music snob friends and say, "You gotta hear this guy!"

And it's also engaging-perfect for a rainy day inside or a sunny summer picnic because Huttlinger is crafty beyond his Ray Romano-like appearance. On Santa Rita there's a Stevie Wonder number and one twangy rendition of a Broadway hit that is just faintly recognizable and significantly cooler than the original.

Huttlinger's non-rip-offs are equally ants-in-pants hopping because he writes whimsical songs about his friends, about fly fishing, about his dog-all under the watch of Santa Rita, the patron saint of impossible dreams.

Pete Huttlinger plays at the Esther Simplot Performing Arts Academy June 24 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door. www.frontgatetickets.com

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