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 jam grass genre. Today, Leftover Salmon is: Vince Herman (vocals, acoustic guitar, washboard); Drew Emmitt (voca
ls, acoustic and electric mandolin, electric guitar, fiddle); Andy Thorn (vocals, acoustic and electric banjo); Greg Garrison (vocals, acoustic and electric bass); Alwyn Robinson (drums).
Though the lineup would change through the years, the foundation of Leftover Salmon was built on the relationship between co-founders Drew Emmitt, Vince Herman, and Mark Vann (electric banjo). Following a decade of constant growth and constant touring, on March 4, 2002, Mark Vann lost his battle with cancer. Mark Vann insisted that the band carry on and Leftover Salmon did just that!
After several rotating banjo players including Matt Flinner, Scott Vestal, Tony Furtado, and Noam Pikelny, the band took a hiatus from touring at the end of 2004. If Leftover Salmon had never played another note after leaving the stage in 2005, the legacy would have been secure; the members’ names etched in the books of history. But in the summer of 2007, Leftover Salmon was ready to hit the road again. Soon after banjo phenom Andy Thorn was brought in to the group, a new album was recorded and released in 2012 (Aquatic Hitchhiker).
NPR’s Mountain Stage heralded Colorado’s Leftover Salmon as “one of the most beloved acts on America’s summer-festival circuit.” This year Leftover Salmon released their 2004 self-titled album digitally for the first time; the album was produced by Bill Payne of Little Feat who has also been joining the band on keys for most of their shows in the recent months. Today, more than two decades after Salmon first took shape, the band has a new lease on an old agreement. Leftover Salmon is officially back.
“The time is right for this band to come back on a lot of levels” says Emmitt. “It’s taken us a little while, but I think we’re finally there.”