Italian guitar star Peppino D’Agostino plays Red Room
June 16, 2011
A native of Italy, Peppino D’Agostino 44 years ago went the extra mile to become a self-taught guitarist.
“I remember at one point I was crazy for Leo Kottke, Chet Atkins, and I was buying the vinyl,” D’Agostino told Lake Tahoe Action. “It was quite difficult to find that kind of styles of music in 1971, 72. There was a store close to Milan that was about two hours by train. I’d put on the turntable and try to figure out what they were doing. I drove my parents crazy. It was an obsession, the Americana style.”
D’Agostino taught himself without the help of an instructor, music book or video. He absorbed all that he heard and loved, including Brazilian and classical guitar. He moved to the United States in 1986.
“I was sacred,” he said. “I thought I had to be as good as Jimi Hendrix but there is a lot more opportunity here.”
He said his name also played a part in his success.
“It also helped that I am foreign,” he said. “The name is exotic. Say this name in Italy and they think of a pizzeria or a restaurant. Here, it plays a role.”
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D’Agostino has recorded 14 records since 1981. He will play several songs from his latest record, “Nine White Kites,” Thursday, June 16, in the Crystal Bay Casino Red Room. He also likes to educate concertgoers with a musical trip around the world.
“One thing I really like about the guitar is that you can find it in every continent, and I enjoy all kinds of styles from Brazilian to Irish to country to classical music,” he said. “Sometimes I have this little medley … a journey around the world. It’s a pretty cheap way to travel.”
D’Agostino plays his own signature wide-neck Godin guitar with light-gauge acoustic strings.
He received the ultimate compliment from his No. 1 influence, Kottke, who said, “Peppino writes wonderful guitar pieces. He’s one of my favorite composers for this cranky instrument. Plus, he’s a tone player. I love his sound (he) gets (from) the resin and the wood.”
The Red Room is one of D’Agostino’s favorite venues.
“It’s unbelievable that in a casino they put together this great sound system and then listen to acoustic guitar music,” he said. “It’s kind of unreal, actually, for in a casino to know they have this kind of music. I wish they were so sensitive in Las Vegas. It’s pretty special (in the Red Room).”
After the Tahoe show, D’Agostino will travel to the Czech Republic before touring Europe for a month.