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Guitar duo finds common ground in differences
James Elkington has kept some august company during his music career, spending time with Jeff Tweedy of Wilco's side band Tweedy as well as Richard Thompson, among others.
But his association wtih fellow guitarist Nathan Salsburg gives him a chance to stretch some different musical muscles.
"It's very pure," says Elkington, an English native who now resides in Chicago, says by phone. "It's really just two guys and their guitars and, for the most part, whatever we come up with at a given moment. We are different players -- Nathan is very pure and more, I think, technically proficient and I'm a bit more clunky in how I play -- but it seems to work out very well when we're together."
The biggest problem, Elkington says, is finding that time to be together. In addition to his interests, Salsburg also curates the Alan Lomax Archive in Louisville and accompanies singer Joan Shelley. That leaves rare windows of time to work together in earnest, and Elkington says the duo's recently released second album of guitar duets, "Ambsace," was wedged into those opportunities.
"It certainly creates an interesting creative dynamic," he notes. "When we're together there's not much time to waste, so we get right to it and show each other things and build from there. But we've developed a nice shorthand between the two of us, and we're very happy with how things came out."
Elkington and Salsburg are taking some time to hit the road to promote "Ambsace," which may also lead to some new music. Returning to the Detroit area, meanwhile, returns him to the Tweedy band's first-ever show, which took place June 6, 2014 at the Jack White Theatre in the Masonic Temple.
"Oh, that was a quite a night," Elkington recalls. "I mean, it was the first show we ever did, and the (Tweedy) album wasn't out yet. So we figured we'd play a bunch of new stuff that people wouldn't care about and then Jeff would go ahead and do the Wilco stuff solo.
"But, you know, people listened and reacted really well. It was a good night. It gave us a lot of confidence for the rest of that tour.
Steve Gunn and James Elkington & Nathan Salsburg
Friday, Oct. 30.
Marble Bar, 1501 Holden St., Detroit.
Tickets are $10.
Call 313-551-3158 or visit facebbook.com/marblebardetroit.
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