Photo by Tim Furnish

September 10, 2013

B-sides

Won more

Guitarist Nathan Salsburg’s latest is titled Hard For To Win and Can’t Be Won, and it’s another striking collection of mostly instrumentals by the former LEO columnist. He plays a release show Tuesday, Sept. 17, at Greenhaus.

LEO: You’ve made two solos and a duo album in the past couple of years, in addition to working your job and producing box sets. What inspired this especially prolific period?

Nathan Salsburg: I hope the last few years’ worth of output isn’t a period, in that it’ll come to an end. I’d like to think that I just got myself into shape, and the productivity owes less to inspiration and more a practical and satisfying sense of vocation. There’s a Ned Rorem quote, paraphrasing Colette, that I keep close: “No one expects you to be happy — just get your work done.”

LEO: What’s the concept of this album?

NS: The album was largely written over this past winter, which I spent in Maine. Wintering in Maine is serious business — especially this one, which was the coldest one in decades — and some combination of the bitter cold, the dark, the proximity to water and the great local beer helped get the songs out. The record ended up being a means of making sense of that experience in that part of the world, and a meditation on what Donald Hall called “necessities of feeling” with regard to place and to home.

LEO: Can you explain the album’s title?

NS: In 1930, an Eastern Kentucky singer and banjo player named Hayes Shepherd — aka the Appalachia Vagabond — cut a version of an old lyric song that he called “Hard for to Love,” the first line of which is It’s hard for to love when you can’t be loved / it’s hard for to change your mind. It’s one of my favorite performances; the album title is a riff on it.

LEO: Ideal setting to hear your music?

NS: I think that’d be best addressed to someone who enjoys listening to my music, but my preference is un-amplified and outside.