Albums of guitar duets are rare. Albums of guitar duets featuring one American and one Englishman, synthesizing their geographically specific approaches in a collection of new compositions, are rarer.
Not since Stefan Grossman and John Renbourn’s partnerships of the 1970s has there been such a happy reconciliation of Merrie Old England and the good old USA, in which baroque meets the blues, music-hall steps out to ragtime, and Benjamin Britten sits down with Blind Blake.
James Elkington moved from London to Chicago around the turn of the millennium and has since released a string of albums as leader of The Zincs for Thrill Jockey Records.
After dissolving the band in 2008, Elkington has concentrated on acoustic, folk-tinged music with his band The Horse’s Ha (that he shares with Freakwater’s Janet Bean).
Nathan Salsburg is best known as an archivist and producer for the Alan Lomax Archive, curator of the Twos & Fews vernacularmusic imprint on Drag City Records, and host of the “Root Hog Or Die” program on East Village Radio.
He appears on Tompkins Square’s ‘Imaginational Anthem Volume 3’ compilation, and produced a tribute album to EC Ball, also on Tompkins Square. Elkington suggested a leap of faith into a collaboration, despite the fact that the two had never previously played guitar together.
AVOS, then, hither and thither over several seasons, between a porch in Louisville and a kitchen in Chicago, slowly took shape. Aptly, the name comes from the Russian word for the confident approach to new situations, and the faith that nothing tragic will occur once in them.
2. A Free Amft
3. Sedentary Song
4. Fez And Guinness
5. Romany Belle
1. Believer Field
2. The Blurring Cogs
3. Trois Poires
4. Straight Up And Down
5. The Queue Outside The Night Ministry
6. Scarborough Fore And Aft