Nathan Salsburg

  • Elizabeth Hartsig
  • Nathan Salsburg

On September 17, Louisville guitarist Nathan Salsburg will release his second solo album, Hard For to Win and Can’t Be Won (No Quarter). Until a couple of years ago I knew him only as the guy behind the Drag City imprint Twos & Fews and the curator at the Alan Lomax Archives, but it turned out he’s also a musician, and he’s been busy reminding us of that—in addition to a previous solo album, Affirmed, he also made Avos (Tompkins Square), a lovely duet recording with Chicago guitarist Jim Elkington. (The two will play a free show together Tuesday night at Constellation, where Salsburg will also screen raw film footage from the Lomax Archives.) The new record consists primarily of beautiful solo instrumental pieces, and although they utilize fingerstyle techniques, they’re far more concerned with tender lyric beauty than staggering virtuosity. Salsburg covers Archie Fisher’s “Coll Mackenzie,” one of two songs he sings on, and on that piece he’s joined by Elkington (playing Dobro), fiddler Rayna Gilbert, and pianist Rachel Grimes—but otherwise he goes it alone, as he does on today’s 12 O’Clock Track, “First Field Path,” a characteristically tender, melodic original, which lies beyond the jump. Salsburg will play music from the album on Thursday night at the Hideout, where he opens for the Horse’s Ha (which includes his pal Elkington).