Magazine article Guitar Player

Soma City

Magazine article Guitar Player

Soma City

Article excerpt

"Music and chord progressions alone do not a song make," proclaims Kevin Salem. "Songwriting is like starting with an empty refrigerator. I keep piling food into it until I can't close the door, and then I have to pull something out. So I take a lick from an unfinished song over here and add it to a lyric from a song over there to create something new."

Salem, late of the Boston roots-pop combo Dumptruck and a sideman who's backed up Freedy Johnston and Yo La Tengo, stocks the fridge with rough-hewn pop treats like "Will" and "Diviner" on his Roadrunner solo debut, Soma City. He pens the bulk of his material on a dropped-D-tuned '52 National Debonaire. "It's easier to sort out the majors and minors in dropped-D," he suggests. "I just look for the root and the 5th, and let the melody do the rest." On Soma, Salem strums producer Niko Bolas '50s Sil vertone and a '70s Fender Malibu for his acoustic tracks. …

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