Nathan Salsburg has been an AG favorite for quite a while. The Kentucky-based guitarist has made some of the most compelling acoustic-guitar instrumental albums in this decade, both as a solo artist and in collaboration with the wonderful Chicago-based (English) guitarist James Elkington. And fans of the great singer-songwriter-guitarist Joan Shelley are certainly aware that Salsburg has been an intrinsic part of her sound for the last few years (and past three albums). Indeed, in AG’s August 2017 cover interview with Shelley, who is a fine player herself, she noted, “Until I started to work with Nathan, I didn’t really try to get better at guitar. He’s such a force with guitar that it’s kind of contagious. I’d pick up his guitar tunings and experiment more with mine. So the guitar became part of my machine.” Shelley and Salsburg performed together for Acoustic Guitar Sessions in 2015.
Salsburg recently released an excellent new album of imaginative solo guitar instrumentals, called Third; his previous records were Affirmed (2011) and Hard For to Win and Can’t Be Won (2013). When Salsburg and Shelley came through the SF Bay Area on a duo tour in late June, they stopped by our offices so Nathan could play a couple of tunes from Third for our Acoustic Guitar Sessions cameras. Playing a late ’90s Bourgeois OM, he rolled through the songs “B.B.” and “Impossible Air,” both attractive little gems. —Blair Jackson