Grammy-Winning Guitarist to Perform at Opera House

Pat Donohue

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1891 Fredonia Opera House

Pat Donohue

Grammy-winning fingerpicker Pat Donohue will perform at the 1891 Fredonia Opera House on Friday, Oct. 13, at 7:30 p.m., as part of the Folk in Fredonia Music Series.

Donohue’s devotion to acoustic guitar has made him an American standard. A versatile guitarist’s guitarist, he plays it all with a flourish of artistry and melodic inspiration. He entertains fans with intricate fingerpicking, easy wit, and nimble interpretations of old blues, swing, R&B and original tunes. Chet Atkins called Donohue “one of the greatest finger pickers in the world today.” Leo Kottke called his playing “haunting.”

Donohue is certainly one of the most-listened-to finger pickers in the world. As the guitarist for the Guys All-Star Shoe Band of Minnesota Public Radio’s A Prairie Home Companion, Donohue got to show off his savvy licks and distinctive original songs to millions of listeners each week. His decade-long association with Garrison Keillor’s popular program led to some interesting gigs: there was the after-show club date in Berlin, when Wynton Marsalis showed up to sit in with Pat and the Prairie Home band. Or playing music on camera with director Robert Altmann and stars Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin, Kevin Kline, John C. Reilly, Woody Harrelson and Tommy Lee Jones. Today, Donohue plays concerts nationwide and teaches at such popular music camps as Augusta Heritage Center and Rocky Mountain Fiddle Camp.

Though he considers himself foremost a folk guitarist, his influences are rooted in bluesmen Blind Blake, Robert Johnson, Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, Muddy Waters and Miles Davis. He manages to blend jazz and blues with folk, and the mix is seamless. Over the years, he has captivated audiences with his unique original compositions, dazzling instrumentals and humorous song parodies, including Sushi-Yucki and Would you Like to Play the Guitar?

He is the winner of a 2005 Grammy for his participation on Pink Guitar, a compilation of Henry Mancini tunes on acoustic guitar, several Minnesota Music Awards and the title of 1983 National Finger Picking Guitar Champion. His original tunes have been recorded by Chet Atkins, Suzy Boggus and Kenny Rogers. Donohue also has been a featured performer at major music festivals including the Newport, Telluride and Philadelphia Folk Festivals.
Tickets to Donohue’s concert are $17 ($15 Opera House Members, $10 Students) and may be purchased in person at the Opera House Box Office or by phone at 716-679-1891, Tuesday-Friday, 1-5 p.m. Tickets also may be purchased online at anytime.

The event is part of the Folk in Fredonia Music Series, now in its 23rd year at the Opera House and sponsored by The Gilman Family.

The 1891 Fredonia Opera House is a member-supported not-for-profit organization located in Village Hall in downtown Fredonia. A complete schedule of Opera House events is available at