This Polyethnic Cajun Slamgrass outfit has come a long way since the Salmon Heads teamed up with the Left Hand String Band for a New Year’s show in Crested Butte. On that wintery night in the mountains a legend was born and they’ve been shaking stages and bringing smiles as Leftover Salmon ever since. This night at Washington’s in Fort Collins, Colorado would be a celebration of everything they’ve accomplished in the last 30 years. Author Tim Newby was there to start the show with a reading from his recently released book ‘Leftover Salmon: 30 Years of Festival!”. He also teed up a short film that took us all on a trip down memory lane. Archival footage of Mark, Drew and Vince from the early days surrounded by the totality of their friends that have called Leftover Salmon home at one time or another danced off the screen. Reminiscing is cool and all but these days Salmon is a band with a solid injection of youth in the form of drummer Alwyn Robinson, keyboardist Erik Deutsch and banjoist Andy Thorn. This band has been soaring high as of late and they show no signs of slowing down.
This concert was billed as “An Evening With” and the floor was seated. The show was also part of their “Living Room” tour with the band performing acoustic and telling a few tales from the good ol’ days. We were told by security that if we wanted to dance, upstairs was the place to be, so we found a spot dead center on the balcony overlooking the stage. As the film ended, the screen rose and the members of Leftover Salmon moseyed to the stage; Andy Thorn was wearing a walking cast from a recent ski injury. They opened with Drew singing their now classic original “Muddy Water Home.”
The boys played two full sets at Washington’s that would feature a nice spattering from their catalog including old stuff, new stuff and a few famed covers. Throughout the show various members (primarily Vince and Drew) would saunter into a story. On this particular evening Vince discussed his first meeting with Drew, the “problem” with Colorado and “banjo bullies.” These Living Room Stories have been collected from the entire run on the band’s Soundcloud page FYI.
They continued with David Bromberg’s ode to life on the road “New Lee Highway Blues.” Fans could no longer stay in their seats during their rendition of the Grateful Dead’s “Cold Rain & Snow.” “Sun Dog” is a newer track that showcases the undeniable banjo talents of Andy Thorn. We were treated to the Greg Garrison sung “Fayetteville Line” which is a bass-heavy bluegrass tune before the whole band threw down on “Kentucky Skies.” “Whispering Waters” is a deep track off of Leftover’s self-titled album penned by Jim Messina back in the mid 90’s. It was nice to see them pulling out some their lesser known tracks as part of this commemoration of all things Salmon. I was personally surprised and elated to hear their version of Prince’s “Seven,” which was pure fire.
The break was very short, Leftover returned with their now famous homage to Boulder’s original independent grocer “Alfalfa’s.” After a wild take on Bob Dylan’s “Tangled Up in Blue” they treated attendees to a nostalgia-inducing “Dance On Your Head.” The “Down In The Hollow” featuring Emmitt’s hauntingly beautiful vocals was equally heartwarming. They closed down their second set with a the Lead Belly spiritual “Lining Track.” Vince and company returned to send us on our way with the irreverent but oh so much fun “Wake & Bake.” There is no doubt that Leftover Salmon is a band anew ready to share their unbelievable story with fans across the country. With a new book, a continuous drive to put out new music and a heavy touring schedule Salmon continues to put on one of the best live shows out on the road today. They have a zest for life that oozes out of every performance. They are what’s right with live music right now. Do yourself a favor and get some Salmon in your life. You wont’ regret it. s[t];for(va