There’s still plenty of Leftover Salmon
SNOWMASS VILLAGE It’s better to burn out than to fade away, Neil Young claimed. And in the realm of the jam-bands, even better than both is to be resurrected.Leftover Salmon, a Colorado group whose jam flavors include bluegrass and zydeco, is the latest to return from the great beyond. The band, which formed on the stage of the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in 1988, called it quits early in 2005. But this summer, Leftover makes its comeback with a series of dates, including an appearance at Jazz Aspen Snowmass’ Labor Day Festival in Snowmass Village.Leftover Salmon joins fellow jam-bands Phish, Widespread Panic and the Grateful Dead in announcing a hiatus, only to return a few years in the future. Salmon’s official comeback gig is set for early July at the High Sierra Music Festival, in Northern California. But a set scheduled for June 24 at Telluride Bluegrass – billed as Drew Emmitt, Vince Herman & Friends, referring to the two leaders of Leftover Salmon – could well lead to a reunion on the stage that spawned the band.
Salmon will perform in Snowmass Village on Sunday, Sept. 2, on a bill with headliner the Allman Brothers Band. They also have dates scheduled at the Allgood Music Festival (July 15 in West Virginia), and at Red Rocks (July 28, on a bill with moe.).Leftover Salmon formed in Telluride in 1988 when two bands – the Salmon Heads, featuring singer-guitarist Herman; and the Left Hand String Band, with singer-mandolinist-violinist Emmitt and banjoist Mark Vann – teamed up to make a farce of the Telluride Band Competition. They packed the stage with 13 musicians and came in next to last – but emerged from the chaos with a new band. Leftover Salmon became an upper-tier act on the jam circuit, with appearances at the Bonnaroo Festival and regular Saturday night shows at Telluride Bluegrass. In the valley, the band played at Mountain Fair in Carbondale, the Double Diamond, the Wheeler Opera House, the Concert for Harmony and the inaugural Chili Pepper & Brew Fest in Snowmass Village. They also performed at the 2004 Labor Day Festival.The band survived much turnover in personnel, and the 2002 death, from cancer, of Vann. In 2005, Leftover hit the end of its stream. Emmitt cited a desire to play acoustic music, after some 17 years of an electrified rock-like style, as the reason for his decision. He formed various combos, including the all-acoustic Drew Emmitt & Freedom Ride, as well as a plugged-in Drew Emmitt Band. Herman played in his Great American Taxi.
Despite their hiatus, last year the band released a historical DVD, “Years in Your Ears … A Story of Leftover Salmon.”The re-formed version of Leftover Salmon includes Herman and Emmitt, as well as drummer Jeff Sipe, bassist Greg Garrison, keyboardist Bill McKay and banjoist Noam Pikelny, all former members of the band.Jazz Aspen’s Labor Day Festival runs Aug. 31 through Sept. 3, with headliners including Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals, Gov’t Mule and another headliner to be announced. Opening acts include Joss Stone, Nickel Creek, and Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi’s Soul Stew Revival, with more to be announced.
For tickets or more information on Jazz Aspen events, go to http://www.jazzaspen.org. Tickets also are available at the Wheeler Opera House.Stewart Oksenhorn’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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