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Arts and Culture

Legacy of Auburn Guitarist, Killed in 1984, Resonates Today

Derek Davis
Portland Press Herald
Bill Umbel named his new Westbrook restaurant for Lenny Breau, a Maine musician who was killed more than 30 years ago.

The Auburn-born guitarist Lenny Breau was never a household name — at least, not outside of Maine.

But Breau was a musician’s musician, with fans and proponents ranging from Chet Atkins to Tommy Emmanuel, Andy Summers of the Police to Randy Bachman of Bachman Turner Overdrive, who released Breau’s 2014 album, “LA Bootleg 1984.”

Breau died in 1984 at the age of 43. He had recorded several albums and even hosted a TV show in Canada. And his unique playing style still influences guitarists today.

Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram features reporter Ray Routhier found his interest in Breau piqued a couple months ago, when a new restaurant bearing his name opened up in Westbrook. Routhier says a new documentary about Breau is also in the works, and he wrote about Breau in a piece this last weekend in the Maine Sunday Telegram.

The 1981 album cover of "Standard Brands" shows Lenny Breau and Chet Atkins.