Soul for Sale
Elliott Salow ~ Soul For Sale Like most musicians who leave their mark on our hearts and psyches, Elliott Salow is a born storyteller. On his independently-released debut album, Soul For Sale, Elliott weaves tales of love and hope, of dreams lost and found, musical territory fueled by years of close observation and an acoustic guitar. "It's a labor of love," says Elliott, a tall affable guy with long brown hair and an easy-going smile. Elliott's 28 year musical career has also been a labor of love. A native of Bayonne, New Jersey, Elliott first became infatuated with performing after scoring the lead in a high school production of "Bye Bye Birdie." Elliott wasn't one for memorizing lines, but singing, well, that was another story. "I realized this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life," Elliott says. "So I took a guitar lesson, and two years later, I was playing in clubs for about 40 bucks a night. It was like, wow! What a way to make a living." Elliott soon became part of a burgeoning scene in Greenwich Village (a circuit he still, as a matter of fact, enjoys playing). Reminiscing about the early days, he says, "I just played the whole strip, on a regular basis: The Bitter End, The Red Lion, The Back Fence. And then I got involved with Folk City," he says, referring to the seminal club helmed by radio personality Lynn Samuels. "I shared the bill with people who became very big - like Suzanne Vega." Other big names soon came calling. Elliott began touring colleges across the country, opening for Elvis Costello, Tom Waits and the late Harry Chapin. In between, he honed his style, evolving beyond his James Taylor and Jim Croce influences. "It took me a good six years to start writing my own songs and to find my own niche," he says. The title track, "Soul for Sale," a melodic story about a girl and a guy who put their hearts on the line, not only has real-life-roots - it also has an underlying message. "I was always trying to sell myself in this music business," he says of his days spent making demos and deals that fell by the wayside. "I don't have to tell ya, your soul is for sale." Personal? Without a doubt, and yet, as Elliott points out, his lyrics hit home. "I like to write songs that are universal," he says. "And I like to write a good love ballad." Elliott's gift for heartfelt sentiment is apparent in "When I'm Holding You," which he wrote for his wife Bess shortly before their wedding anniversary. He composed the ballad while taking a class with Hugh Prestwood, a well-known country songwriter. "I performed it at the end of the course and Hugh was like 'Whoa, what can I say?' when Prestwood couldn't find fault with the tune, on the album it went." "When I'm Holding You" is also an exception because Elliott wrote it over time; most songs find their way onto the page in 25 minutes. "I like things straight and simple," he says "and I think the songs on Soul for Sale convey that. Forget the 15 background singers and the violin section!"