First things first, that Salsburg’s day gig is managing the Alan Lomax Archives already puts him heads above other guitarists in terms of credibility. That’s not a collection that hands over the reigns lightly, and given the historical breadth inherent in the collection, its bound to be expected that the man has leveraged it to lend a little context to his own folk. Above and beyond his administrative credentials though, Salsburg is a sought after sideman who has found himself on records from Wooden Wand and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy to Joan Shelley and The Weather Station. Its with good reason that songwriters seek out his deft hand. Salsburg has a velvet touch on the strings – tender and teeming with emotion. Unlike some finigerpicked impresarios he doesn’t attack the guitar with his prowess. He coaxes sounds from his guitar as if it were a timid bird waiting to sing. That bird is good spirits on Third.
The album is relaxed, but only because Salsburg makes skill seem to flow through his fingers so easily. The record ripples like a stream in the sun, melting images into one another with the touch of a trained painter or seasoned cinematographer. Though his palette is auditory its hard not to let the mind slip through blissful moments and warm hues in ones mind while Salsburg controls the atmosphere. The brilliance that Salsburg pulls off is in making the album absorb into the moment and then take it over. Its built on the soft lap of notes, but Third never fades to become background, rather it becomes the soundtrack to the day and in turn immediately improves that day’s outlook and softens the impact of what anxieties eat at the mind.
At a time when we could all use some sort of levity from day after day of nail-bitten intensity, Third is a gorgeous, intimate, and masterful respite. The album pulls the listener into its arms and cradles it for thirty-five minutes of joy and that’s no small feat. Salsburg’s resume reads like a audible brag, but with this album he’s putting a highwater mark front and center in his current workload. Flashier albums will try to steal attention in 2018, but few will be felt as hard as this one.
Support the artist. Buy it HERE.