Acoustic Eidolon merges classic and contemporary

Acoustic Eidolon’s Joe
Scott and Hannah Alkire perform at Granite Peak Unitarian Universalist Hall Saturday.

Acoustic Eidolon’s Joe Scott and Hannah Alkire perform at Granite Peak Unitarian Universalist Hall Saturday.

PRESCOTT - Fast acoustic picking, alluring rhythms and warm cello undertones are a few aspects defining Acoustic Eidolon, the Colorado-based husband and wife duo appearing at the Granite Peak Folk Sessions concert Saturday night.

Guitjo player Joe Scott and Hannah Alkire have performed a unique mix of Celtic, flamenco, contemporary and bluegrass in venues as varied as the Kerrville Folk Festival, the Kennedy Center in D.C., St. Paul's Cathedral in London and Berlin's Spandau Theatre.

Scott and Alkire complement their contrasting musical backgrounds with the guitjo, a two-necked instrument designed by Scott that produces an oddly melodic sound consistent in Acoustic Eidolon's six-CD catalogue.

The guitjo's two necks each have seven strings and are strung differently.

The bottom neck has all higher-pitched treble strings, which Scott picks with his right hand while picking bass notes and chords with his left.

"By doing hammer-ons and pull-offs I'm able to play bass notes and chords with my left hand and the melody with my right hand, so it's kind of like two guitar players at the same time," Scott explained.

"I had the original built in 1991, and over the last 16 years developed technique. It's unique to what we do," he added.

Developing the guitjo on the tail end of the career of his former band, Wind Machine, which toured for 14 years, Scott said he always imagined cello as the perfect companion instrument. Scott said Alkire played cello on other records; discovering she lived a few houses away, he invited her down to his studio.

"Right from the get-go, we sat down and started playing music together, and I thought, 'Wow, this is really special.' It didn't sound like anything else out there," he said.

Alkire studied classical music starting at the age of four and, after college, branched out of the strictly classical world, performing with groups like the Anasazi String Quartet, which played songs as varied as baroque selections to Led Zeppelin and The Grateful Dead.

Scott grew up playing mostly acoustic-based music in the '70s like Bob Dylan, Seals and Crofts, Cat Stevens and Simon & Garfunkel, as well as studying banjo greats like Lester Flat and Earl Scruggs, which he said is reflected in his work with Acoustic Eidolon.

Acoustic Eidolon performs at 7 p.m. on Saturday at Granite Peak Unitarian Universalist Hall, 882 Sunset Dr. off Whipple Street. Admission is $15.