JACKSON, Wyo. — Just a few nights before headlining Times Square on News Year’s Eve, an evening with KT Tunstall at the Center Theater on Monday evening will feature the Scottish artist’s first ever show in Wyoming. Tunstall will be unaccompanied, though the singer-songwriter utilizes electric and acoustic guitars while building textures via a loop pedal.
Tunstall learned how to be a keen rhythm guitarist through busking on the streets. According to a Guitar World interview two months ago, she’s a self-confessed “scrappy guitarist” that maintains a super aggressive style that continues to tear up the acoustic guitars that she plays.
“I’m now on my third main [Gibson] Dove acoustic,” Tunstall told Guitar World. “I’m literally having to stop playing these guitars because I batter them apart. We try to look into putting some extra bracing inside and just giving them a bit more of a chance. But they’re inevitably cracked within a month.”
Originally from Fife and now based in L.A., Tunstall has evolved a rock edge beyond the more glossy 2004 debut, Eye in the Telescope. Over more than fifteen years of releasing albums, she has covered much ground through her career including folk, country, electronic, and dance music with a soulful, gravelly voice and sassy attitude that has drawn comparisons to Fiona Apple and Dido. Though unlike the latter two, she’s a diehard guitarist.
“I think I err on the side of rhythm playing. Although age is a great factor in this,” she said. “I feel like I might become more of a picker. I’m a huge Joni Mitchell and Nick Drake fan and, actually, I maybe listen to Django Reinhardt more than anything else. I was actually in the car yesterday thinking, ‘Maybe I should become a bebop guitarist.’”
Tunstall has won Best British Female Solo Artist at the Brit Awards (2006) while also being nominated for a Mercury Prize and a Grammy. Listening to her records doesn’t always inform what you’ll get as a solo act. Even when playing acoustic, she incorporates additional textures to build each song and embraces a looser, in-the-moment stage presence.
“I still really enjoy looping,” Tunstall added, who has toured the world many times. “Because I perform mostly solo, it’s important to keep myself on my toes. Working with Howe Gelb on Invisible Empire / / Crescent Moon  also introduced me to really experimenting with effects. That is absolutely staple for me now—to be able to put overdrive, tremolo and reverb onto my acoustic.”
KT Tunstall, 7 p.m. Monday at the Center Theater. $38-$58. JHCenterForTheArts.org. In preparation for upcoming events with the updated COVID-19 protocols, the Center for the Arts has developed a FAQ page to help address questions. Events hosted by The Center require patrons to: wear a mask at all times inside the facility (except when actively eating or drinking), and show proof of full vaccination from COVID-19. Or, for those not vaccinated, show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of the event. See the COVID protocols here.