Leftover Salmon Serves Up a New Dish

BY Mary Jo Brooks and Timothy Smith  September 12, 2012 at 11:48 AM EST


After an eight year hiatus, Colorado bluegrass band Leftover Salmon has released a new album and is back on the road touring. Formed in 1989 by guitarist Vince Herman, mandolin player Drew Emmitt and banjo player Mark Vann, Leftover Salmon became famous for its unique “slamgrass” style, for hardcore touring (more than 200 days a year) and long festival performances.

But in 2002, banjo player Vann died of cancer. While Herman and Emmitt tried for several years to play with other musicians, the chemistry was never right and the band languished. Two years ago, a young banjo player from North Carolina named Andy Thorn sat in with the band, and the spark was re-lit. The result is a rigorous new tour schedule and an album called “Aquatic Hitchhiker,” named after signs warning boaters not to transfer invasive species from one watershed to another.

All of the songs on the album are new compositions and reflect the band’s diversity of styles, from folk and rock to Cajun and Calypso. “It’s roots music. Real, American music,” Emmitt said.

In the video above, “Leftover Salmon” talks to Art Beat and gives an exclusive performance at a Denver art gallery.