Six steel strings

Southern Tier six-stringer Kelly Birtch lives a multi-dimensional musical life.

The lady guitarist specializes in Spanish-style instrumentals, but she also loves to rock 'n' roll.

"I studied traditional Spanish guitar pieces and fell in love with it," she said. "But I still love to play rock music, and that carries over into my acoustic act."

Birtch, who's been plucking guitar strings since she was 8 years old, performs acoustic sets from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19, at historic Mohegan Manor, 58 Oswego St., Baldwinsville; 857-0079.

At Mohegan Manor, Birtch will play music from her new CD "Full Speed Ahead," including tunes such as Johnny Rivers' "Secret Agent Man," Al Dimeola's "Mediterranean Sundance," as well as her own "Spanish Cutaway."

"This is a guitar record," Birtch writes in the disc's album notes. "It brings out the best of the instrument. Most of the songs on this album are uptempo, and there was no editing or digital trickery. These are true performances that actually took place, and you'll hear that sincerity as you listen."

Unlike most Spanish guitar players who use nylon strings, Birtch favors steel strings, the timbre of which add a certain "toughness" to her performance style, whether she's playing "Malaguena" or "She's Not There."

"Yeah, I think there's a toughness that comes out when I perform live," she said, "and I want people to see that."

Her fleet-fingered technique has been lauded as "astounding" by Stephen Burke of The Ithaca Blog. Other critics have called her "dexterous at both flat-picking and finger-picking" and, succinctly, "amazing."

For information, visit kellybirtch.com.

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