Win Tickets to Leftover Salmon’s Nov. 27 show on the MMAC Monthly Facebook Page beginning Nov. 7
Looking back over the past 25 years of rootsy, string-based music, the impact of Leftover Salmon is impossible to deny. Formed in Boulder at the end of 1989, the Colorado slamgrass pioneers took their form of aggressive bluegrass to rock and roll bars at a time when it wasn’t so common, helping Salmon become a pillar of the jam band scene and unwitting architects of the jamgrass genre. The band plays its annual Thanksgiving Celebration at the Boulder Theater, Nov. 27-28, with Jeff Austin Band.
Though the lineup would change through the years, the foundation of Leftover Salmon remained strongly rooted in the relationship between co-founders Emmitt, Herman, and banjoist, Mark Vann, proceeding through a decade of constant growth and nonstop touring.
On March 4, 2002, Vann lost his battle with cancer. He was only 39 years old. Herman issued in memoriam: “Mark lived life to its fullest and he would insist that we do so as well,” so LoS carried on through a succession of replacement players including Matt Flinner, Scott Vestal, Tony Furtado, and Noam Pikelny, but then took a hiatus from touring at the end of 2004.
Had they never played another note, the Leftover Salmon legacy would have been secure; but in the summer of 2007, the band members were ready to hit the road again. Soon after, banjo phenom Andy Thorn was brought into the group, a new album, Aquatic Hitchhiker, (2012) was recorded and released to critical acclaim, NPR’s Mountain Stage, for instance, heralding the group as “one of the most beloved acts on America’s summer-festival circuit.”
Said Drew Emmitt of the band’s resumption, “The time is right for this band to come back on a lot of levels. It’s taken us a little while, but I think we’re finally there.”
Enter a man named Bill Payne, who had been circling the LoS orbit for some time now, having produced their 2004 self-titled album. Payne, who had already achieved legendary status as co-founder of the celebrated hybrid country rock outfit, Little Feat, was regarded as one of the finest keyboardists in the biz. By the start of 2014, however, he had also clocked a significant amount of stage time with Leftover Salmon.
Today, Leftover Salmon is: Vince Herman on vocals, acoustic guitar, washboard; Drew Emmitt on vocals, acoustic and electric mandolin, electric guitar, fiddle; Andy Thorn on vocals, acoustic and electric banjo; Greg Garrison on vocals, acoustic and electric bass; Alwyn Robinson on drums; and Bill Payne on vocals, keyboards.
Leftover Salmon also hosts is second Stanley Hotel, three-night concert weekend, March 11-13, 2016. Other upcoming Colorado dates include The Sheridan Opera House in Telluride, March 17-18.