More Than Cowboy Boots and Guitar Solos

“For me it’s more than cowboy boots and guitar solos. It’s about striking a chord with the listener, with myself, with Celia; a chord that pulses and pokes at feeling, soul, dance, love and laughter” Avi Salloway, of the blues/bluegrass/ rock duet Avi and Celia, said “Cowboy boots and guitar solos are still cool though,” he added.

The duo will celebrate the release of their first studio album, “Off the Floor,” with a CD release party at Higher Ground, where they have been named Artist of the Month, on Thursday, March 8, at 8 p.m. Avi and Celia came to play together after a roommate of Celia’s heard Avi playing guitar in his dorm room during his freshman year in 2003. After listening for a few minutes, she told Avi that he needed to play with Celia.

About a week later, the two met and jammed on the quad outside of Marsh/Austin/Tupper and a musical relationship was formed.

The song writing process generally entails the two individually coming up with ideas and then presenting them to each other. Celia usually writes the lyrics and melody, with Avi filling in the licks and bridges. After years of playing together, collaboration has become much easier as they have learned to better meld their voices.

The duo got their big break in the spring of 2006, when Avi and Celia won the University of Vermont’s Battle of the Bands competition. In addition to the attention this earned them, they were awarded 20 free hours of recording time at Last Exit Studios in Burlington.

They entered the studio in early summer and recorded two tracks, backed by accomplished musicians from Southern Vermont.

Over the course of the summer, they bounced back and forth between Last Exit and Sand Studios in Colchester, recording tracks for what would eventually become “Off the Floor.”

The duo will tour the country this summer to support the album.

Avi and Celia cull their influences from a variety of genres, including folk, rock, blues and bluegrass. Of their unique sound, Avi says, “Our music is a blender with few stipulations and limits while still being honorable to many aspects of tradition.”

Honesty is something that is certainly conveyed through their music, whether it be on stage or in the studio.

Celia says, “We let go onstage which we hope inspires our audience to do the same.” Their upcoming show will feature a bluegrass set, where Avi and Celia will be backed by The Walkin’ Line. The second part of the night will be a rock set where the duo will play with Paul Carroccio on drums and Mike Santususso on bass. The show will include openers Possum Haws, a local bluegrass quartet and May Fly, an old time female duet.

Tickets are $4 in advance and $6 at the show. They can be purchased at Pure Pop Records and through the Higher Ground website. For more information on Avi and Celia, log onto http://www.myspace.com/aviandcelia and http://www.aviandcelia.com.