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Winter Park: Local guitarist celebrates first solo album

by Cyndi Palmer
Sky-Hi Daily News

The year 2008 marks several firsts for local musician, Yaniv Salzberg.

His first-ever solo CD arrived at his house just after the New Year and friends and fans are so excited for the musician, a CD release party and concert have been scheduled to help him celebrate at the Grand Theatre Company in Winter Park next Saturday.

“I’m thrilled,” he said. The new album features 13 original pieces by Salzberg, who sings and plays guitar, bass, dobro, piano, mandolin and ukulele for the CD. As the sole performer, he overdubbed his vocals and instrumental performances at his studio in Fraser.

“I performed all the parts in each song,” except for the third song on the disc, he said. For that song, Salzberg recorded with locals, Tammy Yurich (on back-up vocals) and Greg Travis (on cymbals). Salzberg said Yurich is an incredible vocalist who worked in Nashville for four years as a professional singer.

“She’s also a talented songwriter,” he said. Salzberg and Travis have been playing music together for about seven years with various bands, including Hunker Down, Space Heater and Sack Lunch.

“He’s a great friend and I’m happy that he’s on the record,” he said.

Salzberg said he’s very proud of the project, which was mixed in Boulder by James Tuttle and David Glasser – a two-time Grammy winner who has mastered over 60 Grammy-nominated records. If a song on his CD gets a listener to play it again and again, he said that “would be a dream.”

The Jerusalem-born musician grew up in Colorado from the age of 3 and went on to attend the University of Colorado where he studied music and anthropology. He completed his bachelor’s degree after a year at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and finished a professional certificate in studio production from the Berklee School of Music.

He has wanted to be a musician ever since he was 11 (before that he wanted to play for the Denver Broncos) and he still has the first guitar he ever owned – a 3/4-size classical guitar that he doesn’t really play anymore. “But it’s still my favorite,” he said.

During recent years, he’s had the opportunity to work primarily as a professional musician and also lends his time teaching music privately.

With three genres to choose from for his Myspace page, he said he chose to describe his music as “experimental/surf/Zouk” mainly as a joke. Although categorizing music makes for easy marketing, he said it is better left up to critics and journalists.

He said there are really only two types of music: Good and bad.

“And I play both of them,” he said. “The truth is I really love all kinds of music, and I love playing all kinds of music.

“I don’t know what Zouk is, but it’s a funny word … and surfing is cool,” adding that “experimental” was “nice and vague.” Music on his new CD, he clarified, can best be categorized as acoustic or folk.

His influences include Lyle Lovett, Thelonious Monk, Kenny Werner and the enthusiastic late Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin. He gathers inspiration from “friends, jokes, harder times, (and) good stories. Musically, I am often inspired by other musicians that I listen to and that I play with.”

As for what his promising future holds, Salzberg recorded at least two songs that will be on a compilation CD coming out in late February. He also has several other performances lined up, including shows at the Grand Theatre Company Jan. 9 (with Neil Diamond tribute band Cubic Zirconium), at SolVista Jan. 19, at the Winter Park Pub Jan. 23 (with Hunker Down) and the Rocky Mountain Roastery Feb. 8. Copies of his new album are available at Singing Dog and the Grand Theatre Company, and online at iTunes, cdbaby.com, digstation.com and through his Web site.

Salzberg said it’s great to be a musician in Grand County and that the sound at the Grand Theatre Company is incredible.

“More than that,” he said. “The atmosphere is outstanding. They’ve created a great space there that is unlike any other place in the Valley … I’ve learned and grown immeasurably performing with them.” (as Hank Williams in the theatre company’s production of “Hank Williams: the Lost Highway).


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