Mike Gordon & Leo Kottke - Sixty Six Steps

Mike Gordon and Leo Kottke
Sixty Six Steps

(RCA Victor)

First Appeared in The Music Box, October 2005, Volume 12, #10

Written by John Metzger


During Phish’s first hiatus, bass player Mike Gordon collaborated with guitarist extraordinaire Leo Kottke on Clone, a set that, with its quirky jumble of folk, blues, and bluegrass styles, managed to offend Kottke’s fans as much as it pleased Gordon’s. On their sophomore outing Sixty Six Steps, the duo resumes their partnership by enveloping a similar batch of rustic appropriations within an array of breezy, calypso beats. The result is warm, sunny, and subtle as Gordon’s bass and Kottke’s guitar embrace in an intricate dance that toys with the delicate relationship between rhythm and melody. The problem, however, is that much like Clone, Sixty Six Steps features a skewed and sometimes silly sense of lyricism as well as some downright dreadful vocal exchanges, all of which serve only to undermine the more impressive instrumental passages. While that’s not going to stop some jam band aficionados from proclaiming that Sixty Six Steps is one of the highlights of 2005, it also won’t allow the set to be viewed by the more discriminating world at large as anything more than a passing curiosity — albeit one that has its moments of redemption. starstarstar

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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!


Copyright © 2005 The Music Box