Emmitt-Nershi Band performs in Beaver Creek
In 2007, Drew Emmitt, of Leftover Salmon, and Bill Nershi, of String Cheese Incident, joined forces to create the Emmitt-Nershi band. Wednesday’s band lineup includes two additional members, bassist Johnny Grub and Andy Thorn on banjo.The newgrass supergroup, known for taking its music in new and unexpected directions, is in concert at the Vilar Performing Arts Center Wednesday night. The band’s newest member, Grub, recently took time to answer questions for the Vail Daily. Vail Daily: Can you talk a little bit about how the ENB came to be? Johnny Grub: Colorado bluegrass/jamgrass has been really fertile for a long time. I’m guessing Drew and Billy have probably known each other for at least 20 years or so. Leftover Salmon somewhat predates String Cheese, and I think SCI probably borrowed a bit of the recipe for their sauce from Leftover. In any event, there’s a long history of friendship and mutual respect between the two bands, and somewhere around 2007, both bands found themselves with dramatically lighter touring schedules. I was in another band at that time and got to witness all the musicians from both bands splitting off or pairing off and getting something new started. I wasn’t on the phone call or at the bar when Drew and Billy first got started talking about doing something together, but it seems pretty obvious in hindsight that there’s a deep bluegrass vein running through both of them, and so why not start a bluegrass band?VD: It’s been nearly five years since the Emmitt-Nershi Band was formed, what’s new?JG: That’d be me, I guess. Tyler Grant was the ENB’s original bassist and announced at the end of 2010 that he was going to be leaving to pursue his own thing. I used to be in a band called Railroad Earth, which just happened to be another six-piece jamgrass band that played Colorado like it was a second home, and we were signed to SCI Fidelity records for a while. I knew Billy through that connection, so that’s how that worked out. I play the upright bass, so it gives it a more traditional flavor as opposed to the newgrass-y, seldom scene vibe that the electric bass gives this kind of music.VD: What should audiences expect from a live concert experience with the band?JG: A great mix of original tunes from both Billy and Drew, as well as some traditional tunes thrown in there. Our banjo player Andy Thorn usually gets to drop a couple of his originals in there. “Sweet Child of Mine” by Guns & Roses makes an appearance every now and then, but that’s sort of like breaking out that special occasion bottle of Oban whisky. VD: Of the many music festivals happening across the country nowadays, which one would your band never miss?JG: Were the booking decision up to us, I’m sure we’d probably agree on the Telluride Bluegrass Festival.VD: What is one of your band’s most memorable live concert experiences? JG: Probably having Sam Bush sit in with us for our whole set at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival last year. I grew up listening to him and Bla Fleck and all of those guys. I’d played a few tunes with Sam before, but had always averted my eyes lest I start thinking “holy crap, that’s Sam Bush right there” and lock up. I actually snuck a couple of peeks at him while we were playing this time, though. It was cool.VD: What are some of the songs that will be included on your set list in Beaver Creek?JG: I’m guessing we’ll close up with the title track of our latest record, “New Country Blues.” I’m further guessing that either “Black Clouds” or “Restless Wind” will be on there. “Hollerwood” is a rocking Drew tune. “Bolin Creek” is a Thorn original instrumental. Either that or “Flight of the Durbin.” We’ll see. VD: Is there anything else you want readers to know about the Emmitt-Nershi Band? JG: We are Certified Moonshine Disposal Professionals. If anyone in the readership area has any moonshine that they need to get rid of, please come see us either before, during, or after the show and we’ll be glad to see that it’s taken care of in the most courteous and expeditious manner possible.
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