Willy Porter

At last month's Eric Johnson show, the jaw-dropping started about an hour earlier than expected as Willy Porter began his amazing opening set. While politely keeping himself and his acoustic guitar at his appointed end of the stage, Porter equally mesmerized and awed the crowd with his deft finger-picking--and these are people used to some serious guitar playing. Porter was all over the fret board as he, using his effects pedals, set up rhythmic and vocal loops enabling him to accompany and even harmonize with himself during an amusing, partly improvised send-up of the theme song to Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. By the time the brief set was finished, it wasn't just the guitar geeks who were smiling.