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Steve Kauffman: Winnin’ and a-Grinnin’

Steve Kauffman: Winnin’ and a-Grinnin’

by Ted Davis

Originally published in American Lutherie #6, 1986

Mention guitar flat-pickers and names like Dan Crary, Tony Rice and Mark O’Connor burst into our minds. To the growing number who know Steve Kauffman, his name flows just as easily and quickly into our thoughts.

Steve has many things in common with these “biggies”. For instance only three men have ever won the flat picking championship at Winfield Kansas twice. Mark O’Connor and Steve Kauffman are two of the three. Dan Crary had the following to say about his first meeting with Steve: “One night in the summer of 1977 I had a chance to sit down and join with some fine guitar players in Knoxville, Tennessee. One of the things I remember about that gathering is the looks of respect and awe several of the pickers gave Steve Kauffman when he came over and sat down. I soon found out why: Steve is one of the best young flatpickers in the country. And along with his flair for the hot and flashy, he has some additional ammunition like power, clarity and musical taste. All those things make him an out-of-the-ordinary guitar man. The music is up beat, hot and melodic. When it’s over you feel like you’ve heard the tune and you’ve learned a couple of things about guitar and mandolin playing and you’ve enjoyed yourself besides.” (From the cover of Steve’s first album “Footloose”.)

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