Nathan Salsburg and Nathan Bowles at Trad in the Attic

Photo of Nathan Salsburg, while at a 2012 residency at Space Gallery in  Portland, ME accompanied an  interview by Nat May (email), Executive Director of the gallery.


Nathan Salsburg (blog), of Louisville, KY, curates the  Alan Lomax's archives for The Association for Cultural Equity.  He was in Blacksburg September 23 to perform most of the songs on his  his second album "Hard to Win and Can't Be Won" at Trad in the Attic in Blacksburg.

The album contains, in addition to  one sung ballad,  "Coll Mackenzie," written by Archie Fisher, eight of Salsburg's guitar instrumentals:

First Field Path
Mrs. Gristles Reel
Paraffin Turpentine
Dog At Bay
Chief Wants
To Welcome the Travelers Home
What Can't Be Won

Salsburg set up playing "Coll Mackenzie," by saying he had learned the tune in the traditional way for music to be passed down from earlier generations in the 21st century --YouTube.  Salsburg had written Fisher for the lyrics and gained his permission to record it.

Salsburg also played  others' music including Norman Blake's "Whiskey Deaf and Whiskey Blind" with  his friend Nathan Bowles of The Black Twig Pickers sitting in on banjo.

Afterwards, Salsburg screened clips from the Lomax archive.  You can find many of the videos (but not the bawdiest, evidently) on YouTube.  For instance, here's a screen shot of the video of  Tommy Jarrell playing "Breaking Up Christmas" in 1983: