Where it all started
For longtime Leftover Salmon fans, this weekend could be a tear-jerker. Leftover Salmon will play State Bridge Lodge in Bond this weekend for the last time before taking a long break. “It’ll be a pretty special thing for us to be playing State Bridge,” Salmon mandolin player Drew Emmitt said from a bike trail near his home in Crested Butte. “We had some good times in there.”Leftover Salmon was born in Boulder in 1989 when bluegrass was just beginning a kind of revolution.
“Back then you couldn’t tour as a bluegrass band,” said Emmitt. But Leftover Salmon helped lead the way in a burgeoning bluegrass and jam band scene though the 1990s to become one of the biggest acts in bluegrass and helped to create a scene that allows bluegrass bands to tour and make a living playing music. But the cost of making a living playing bluegrass is that bands, even the best of which get only minimal radio play, have to tour relentlessly to keep earning money and selling albums, Emmitt said. Leftover Salmon’s decision to take a break comes from the decision by the band’s banjo player, Noam Pikelny, to move on.”Rather than trying to find another full-time banjo player … we decided that it’s a good time to take a break,” Pikelny said.
However, band members will still be playing and touring with other groups. Emmitt, a founding member of Leftover Salmon, is going to play with his own Drew Emmitt Band. And founding guitarist Vince Herman will tour with Rob Wasserman and Jim Page as a trio in October. Despite the looming break for Leftover Salmon, “It’s an exciting time for us,” Emmitt said. After the summer tour is over, the band will play its annual Halloween Show in Denver, and a New Year’s Eve date in New York, “Then we’re taking a pretty long break,” he said.
Leftover Salmon’s break comes amid the many breaks and break-ups of Widespread Panic and Phish, a trend Emmitt joked comes from “just something in the air.”But that won’t leave Leftover Salmon fans completely empty handed: They can still hang on to the band’s 1999 “Nashville Sessions” album and this year’s self-titled album. The newest album is much cleaner and has fewer guest artists than previous albums, and it has been criticized for a lack of adventure. But the band’s mellower album doesn’t reflect on Leftover Salmon’s stage show. “Our live shows are still anything-goes,” Emmitt said. “Definitely expect a rowdy time … especially at State Bridge.”Leftover Salmon plays State Bridge Lodge at 9 p.m. Saturday and 9:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $30. Information:www.leftoversalmon.com.