Podcast 335: Nathan Salsburg


You don’t need to be Jewish to appreciate the audacious project that guitarist Nathan Salsburg just pulled off: An album of vocal and guitar compositions created around passages he found in his copy of a bilingual Hebrew-English Book of Psalms.

“I opened a Psalm book at random,” he says of his original writing exercise. “[I’d] find some English text that appealed to me… and then just start playing around with it. All the melodies are my own.” The resulting compositions he wrote on his Bourgeois and Pleinview acoustics were a far cry from the last time he heard many of these passages… at Jewish summer camp when he was a kid.

Eventually, Salsburg recruited some of collaborators – James Elkington, Spencer Tweedy, Joan Shelley, and Will Oldham, along with Israeli singer Noa Babayof – to add their touches to the final album.

It’s a record unlike any other that Salsburg has released to date and we thoroughly love it.

Order Psalms here.

Two pieces of music referenced during the conversation:

Jonathan Harkham and David Brook’s Darcho (Bandcamp link)

The Caretaker (YouTube link)

The Fretboard Journal‘s 48th issue is now mailing. Julian Lage graces the cover. Click here to read up on it and start your subscription.

Don’t forget, we now host an entire family of podcasts, about everything from lutherie to home recording: Luthier on Luthier; The Truth About Vintage Amps; The Truth About Recording & Mixing;Acoustic Voices; and Sweep the Floor.

This episode is sponsored by Mono Cases, Folkway Music and Retrofret Vintage Guitars.

Extra thanks to Calton Cases and Martin Guitars for sponsoring all that we do.