On Stage: Leftover Salmon a delicious rock/blues dish

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By Denny Dyroff, Entertainment Editor, The Times

Leftover Salmon

Music fans have been dining on (actually, listening to) Leftover Salmon for years and enjoying the tasty musical dishes (songs actually) the band serves up on stage and on record.

Leftover Salmon is an American jam band from Colorado that plays a blend of rock, zydeco, bluegrass, country and Americana.

The band formed in 1989, when members of the Salmon Heads — Vince Herman, Dave Dorian, and Gerry Cavagnaro — combined with members of the Left Hand String Band — Drew Emmitt and Glenn Keefe– to play a New Year’s Eve show in 1989 at the Eldo in Crested Butte.

Herman had previously played with Emmitt in the Left Hand String Band, and had called on his former bandmates Emmitt and Keefe to fill in for some missing members of the Salmon Heads for the New Year’s Eve show. They chose the name Leftover Salmon on the drive to the show.

Everything clicked and Leftover Salmon soon began playing shows and making records. The lineup changed significantly over the years, but Emmitt, Herman and banjoist Mark Vann remained the heart of the band until Vann’s death in 2002.

For three decades, Leftover Salmon has been one of the biggest bands on the roots music circuit with legions of fans and routinely sold-out shows.

Now, two of the band’s founding members are touring the country offering a lighter fare.

Herman and Emmitt have been on the road with a special project – an acoustic show featuring Leftover Salmon tunes. The tour will stop in Philly on February 12 for a show at City Winery (990 Filbert Street, Philadelphia, citywinery.com/philadelphia).

“I guess it’s kind of a victory lap for Drew and I,” said Herman, during a phone interview last week from his mountaintop home in Boulder.

“We can improvise a lot. We know each other pretty well. It’s really to celebrate the confidence we have in each other from playing together for so long.”

The full band will swing into action next month. For February’s dates, it’s just the two founder members playing acoustic sets.

“This is a first for Drew and I – something we’ve never done before — something old and something new,” said Herman, who was in the middle of dealing with a harsh Colorado winter.

“I live at 8,000 feet and can see Boulder down below,” said Herman. “It got down to 20-below last night after being in the 60s three days ago. I ran out of propane last night, so I was stoking the fire

 “For these shows, we’ll be playing calypso, bluegrass, Cajun, rock – and stuff we make up on the spot. We can do all kinds of stuff. Most likely, it will turn into a comedy night.

“We will have a set list, but we probably won’t adhere to it. Leftover Salmon songs will make up a bulk of it. There will be a lot of Salmon stuff – going all the way back to 1989. We’ll also do some solo stuff – and some new material.”

For three decades, Leftover Salmon has been one of the biggest bands on the roots music circuit with legions of fans and routinely sold-out shows. Not long after Vann’s death, Leftover Salmon went on hiatus for a few years.

They didn’t finally come back until 2012 when they made the “Aquatic Hitchhiker” album.

Since then, Leftover Salmon has released three albums – “High Country” in 2014, “25” in 2016 and ‘Something New,” which was just released this year. All three were on Los Records.

“We’re slowing down with Salmon this year – just festivals, not many club dates,” said Herman. “We’re doing a Rocky Mountain run in March and a festival at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs.

“We have a whole record that’s done. We’ve got a new record that we’re going to release track-by-track. These days, it doesn’t make sense to make an album.”

Video link for Leftover Salmon – https://youtu.be/XAkUz4J3QKE.

The show at City Winery (990 Filbert Street, Philadelphia, citywinery.com/philadelphia) will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $26, $28 and $30.

Joel Ross

The Delaware Art Museum (2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, Delaware, www.delart.org), will present Joel Ross Good Vibes as part of its celebrated Performance Series lineup on February 13 at 8 p.m.

Joel Ross Good Vibes is a jazz quintet led by Joel Ross, a musician who has received accolades from noted organizations such as the Thelonious Monk Institute.

Chicago native Joel Ross has performed with historic and seasoned artists – Herbie Hancock, Louis Hayes, Christian McBride, and Stefon Harris – as well as with cutting-edge contemporaries like Ambrose Akinmusire, Gerald Clayton, and Marquis Hill.

Twice selected as a Thelonious Monk Institute National All-Star and a 2013 YoungArts Jazz Finalist, he’s also had the opportunity to perform at the Brubeck, Monterey, Seattle, and Chicago Jazz Festivals -and- at internationally-celebrated venues like Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola in New York, SF Jazz in San Francisco, and Club Vibrato in Los Angeles.

Playing the drum kit as early as three years of age, Ross learned other percussion instruments and approaches beginning in fifth grade.

When starting his work on the vibraphone, he studied both jazz and classical throughout high school and added piano studies in his senior year.

Ross has just recorded his own debut album “KingMaker,” which was released in 2019. He will be performing, also, with his newly minted Joel Ross’ Good Vibes ensemble — Joel Ross, Vibraphone; Immanuel Wilkins, Alto Saxophone; Jeremy Corren, Piano; Kanoa Mendenhall, Bass; and Jeremy Dutton, Drums.

According to Ross, “I never had a doubt that I was going to do music. “My whole life it was just about finding a way to do it.”

Stefon Harris invited Ross to try out for his Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet at University of the Pacific. Ross won it, and for two intense years, worked to tear down and rebuild his approach to the instrument. Ross soon transferred to the New School and formed his band Good Vibes featuring his favorite players.

According to Jonathan Whitney, Manager of Performance Programs and Community Engagement, “Joel is touring and recording with who’s who of the next generation of jazz legends. This is an awesome opportunity to catch a special player, who is maturing quickly, in an intimate setting before he is only able to play larger venues.”

Video link for Joel Ross Good Vibes — https://youtu.be/v5RJYs-MI9k.

Tickets are $30 for Members, $35 for Non-Members, and $25 for Students with a valid I.D.

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