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Playing Around: Kraig Kenning

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After damaging his hand in a serious car crash in 1989, instead of simply giving up, Kraig Kenning decided to pursue the slide guitar. Over the past ten years, he has been constantly reinventing his approach to playing guitar, and has created a distinctive blend of acoustic blues, rock and folk. Kenning's devotion to the instrument and his rigorous touring schedule -- over 300 shows per year -- have paid off, earning him the first place unsigned guitarist title at the National Slide Guitar Contest in Brevard, North Carolina, last August.

The accolades haven't gone to his head, though. If you surf to Kraig Kenning's website (http://www.kraigkenning.com), you'll find frequent entries written by Kenning to all who are interested. A kind of public journal, the openness of the short paragraphs shows Kenning's devotion to his fans. He is "just as gratified" playing small, intimate venues as he is playing large stages and competitions. "I love the idea of doing a solo acoustic show...in a little place where people have come to listen to me and my songs. I know at any time I could lose the whole deal, because I did before, so I'm real happy to have 40 or 50 people listening to every song of mine. To hold and audience spellbound, that's what I live for."

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