Although Kade Puckett has been playing monthly solo shows at the Player’s Pub for almost five years, the crowd never knows what to expect because he makes up his set list on the spot.
On Saturday evening, Bloomington residents gathered at the pub to hear his distinct finger-style guitar, which lends itself to improvisation.
Puckett said it is difficult to classify what genre finger style falls under. While it’s similar to classical guitar, some parts of the instrument are played with the thumb and other parts with the fingers.
“You’re playing all the music parts on guitar,” he said. “So the bass part, the rhythm and the melody on top of it. It’s not like it’s a well-known style, but it’s kind of an underground thing.”
Puckett said he doesn’t feel like he has a problem getting the audience’s attention at the Player’s Pub because the crowd comes to see him play finger style, but at other venues, that’s not always the case. He said it’s more difficult to play at venues where the crowd is unfamiliar with his style of guitar.
“You get crowds that are not paying attention much,” he said. “But then I’ll play something like ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ or something, and that always gets their attention.”
During his show, he did play “Rudolph” and a few other classic Christmas songs and country hits.
Player’s Pub manager Chris Breedlove said Puckett’s style fits in with the venue’s atmosphere, especially for a happy hour-type show. He said Puckett has an amazing style and is incredibly talented.
“I asked him before if he was classically trained, and he said ‘No, it’s more of a country background,’” he said. “It’s more like each type of song he plays, there’s also an overlay of one of the classical guitarists.”
Since he doesn’t use a set list at his shows, Puckett said he sometimes feeds off the audience and is attentive to what it wants to hear. He said when he first started playing, it was more difficult to come up with things to perform on the spot.
“I just keep my eye on everybody in the crowd and see how they’re acting,” he said. “I’ll usually find something they can attach to and see whatever happens.”
Puckett, who is from Linton, Indiana, said he travels an hour to come to the pub each month. Because he plays solo, he said it’s easier for him to travel, and he enjoys playing at the Player’s Pub because of its homey environment.
“The local crowd comes in, and usually it’s people who enjoy listening to good music, so they’re not real rowdy unless we all get rowdy,” he said. “It’s got an old feeling to it too. Plus it’s kind of where I started doing what I’m doing. I like to come back here.”
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