There’s a circularity to David Wilcox’s return to Black Mountain, a town where, as a Warren Wilson College student in the early 1980s, he honed his songwriting, stagecraft and guitar chops at the legendary music club McDibb’s.
Now a recognized standard bearer of the crop of “new folk” singer-songwriters to emerge from that decade, Wilcox will take the stage at White Horse Black Mountain on Friday, July 22. Sharing the bill with him is the Italian steel-string guitar virtuoso Peppino D’Agostino.
Wilcox released his debut album in 1987 on hammered dulcimer player/builder Jerry Reed Smith’s Black Mountain-based Song of the Wood label. The album launched a career that initially grew largely by word of mouth, and a buzz spread about the young songwriter who delivered philosophical, insightful, probing lyrics in a warm, expressive baritone.
Wilcox became one of a handful of singer-songwriters whose guitar playing garners almost as much attention as his songs, having forged a personal approach that takes advantage of alternative tunings and customized capos. Wilcox’s deceptively low-key intensity has won him many fans among listeners and fellow musicians like k.d. lang, who has covered his work.
Sicilian-born Peppino D’Agostino was inspired at a young age by guitar pioneers Leo Kottke, Paco de Lucia and Carlos Santana. Teaching himself to play by ear, he was already a seasoned composer and recording artist in his native Italy by the age of 18. He emigrated to San Francisco in 1984 to pursue his musical dreams and became recognized as one of the brightest lights in the constellation of brilliant guitarist-composers of his musical generation.
D’Agostino was in the vanguard of players expanding the guitar’s sonic palette through the use of percussive effects, open tunings and tapping. His immensely appealing compositions are carefully balanced between rhythmic, harmonic and melodic elements.
Two for one
Who: David Wilcox and Peppino D'Agostino
When: 8 p.m. July 22
Where: White Horse Black Mountain
Cost: $18 advance, $20 door