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Drew Emmitt plays free show in Vail Tuesday

Charlie Owen
Vail CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily
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VAIL, Colorado ” For 20 years Leftover Salmon was one of bluegrass music’s biggest attractions. They toured constantly playing the festival circuit and drew large and loyal crowds to their high-energy show. Since Salmon broke up two years ago Drew Emmitt, one of the founding members of the band, has gone solo. Taking his mandolin on the road, Emmitt formed the Drew Emmitt Band, which will play Tuesday night in Vail at the Ford Amphitheater.

Emmitt’s second solo album release, “Long Road,” is set for June 15. He took some time to answer a few questions about what the road means to him and why he still enjoys playing with Leftover Salmon whenever he can.

Drew Emmitt: There’s a little more artistic freedom I think when you do a solo project, especially after being locked in a band for so many years. It’s, in a way, a more pure form of expression for me, anyway. There’s not all these other opinions and personalities you need to honor… It’s really nice to focus on where your music’s headed and nurture that and it’s really fun.

DE: The main thing about this record is that I was able to kind of showcase both the acoustic and the electric aspects of what I do.

DE: There’s definitely different aspects of the road represented on this record. We do Supertramp’s “Take the Long Way Home,” which is kind of the contrast between home life and road life and there’s the coming back home song, there’s the leaving to go on the road (song) … We didn’t have that theme when we first started cutting the record, it just kind of developed. We just kind of started realizing that the cover’s we’d chosen and the tunes that had been written really had a lot to do with the road so it just kind of developed on its own as a theme. It’s kind of cool.

DE: Well, there’s a certain freedom about getting out on the road, you know, and time to be on your own, especially when you have a family. You know, get out there and let your mind wander and being in your own space, frankly doing what you love, you know. You’re gettin’ out there and your focusing on music and, of course, driving a lot. But the focus is definitely on doing your art and it’s really fun that way … It’s not a time to be focusing on paying bills or doing chores and things like that. You’re out there focusing on doing what you love and seeing the country and experiencing life.

DE: The mandolin to me was something entirely different and there were so many guitar players around I wanted to do something different and have a different sound. And also it’s so easy to take with you, that was the original kind of attraction for me was you can just pick it up and run, it’s so portable. And the sound of it. It’s got like this really haunting sort of mediaeval kind of sound and I was really attracted to that as well.

DE: It’s a very percussive instrument. In a bluegrass band situation you’re definitely like the drummer. So that’s really fun, and there’s a real power in that, in the way a mandolin can drive a band.

DE: I would hope so. Yeah, I would hope we keep it going on some level, I mean this is our second summer now of doing some reunion shows … it’s something I would love to come back to every year.

High Life writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 970-748-2939 or cowen@vaildaily.com.

What: The Drew Emmitt Band.

When: Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.

Where: Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater in Vail.

Cost: Free.

More information: Call 970-949-1999 or visit http://www.vvf.org.


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