Ashleigh Still & Nick Salisbury, Firefly [facebook.com and ashleighandnick]

Singer/songwriter Ashleigh Still and bassist Nick Salisbury are as unlikely a duo as you’ll find in this space.
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Singer/songwriter Ashleigh Still and bassist Nick Salisbury are as unlikely a duo as you’ll find in this space. Conceived when Salisbury spontaneously accompanied Still at an open mic night in St. Paul, Minnesota, their musical union was consummated when she put down her acoustic guitar and asked Salisbury to back her voice with bass and nothing else. That’s the sound of their indie debut Firefly, and it works to create a haltingly honest, completely vulnerable musical space for Still’s songs to live and breathe in. Salisbury’s bass approach isn’t the warm, reverberated tapestry you might expect—it’s refreshingly vintage-toned and raw, with fret and string-slide noise laid bare as he uses the whole neck, employing chords, double-stops, and arpeggios to comp his way through Still’s edgy, emotional material. Bass highlights include a brief comp/melody solo in “She’s a Good Time,” and a simmering, overdriven snarl that perfectly matches the rough-girl lament of Still’s “Too Bad.” But beyond any individual performance, it’s the way Still and Salisbury complement each other on every track that makes this disc worth repeated listening.

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