Leftover Salmon’s Something Higher Release Show at eTown Hall
by Nicholas Stock on May 24, 2018
Photo by C. Alan Crandall
Leftover Salmon is a band anew. With the release of their new album Something Higher this group of music veterans is poised yet again to dominate the scene. Their show at eTown Hall marks the start of a prodigious tour across the country with stops at multiple festivals including Summer Camp and Telluride Bluegrass. This concert was billed as a VIP album release party limited to around 200 fans. The event included a meet and greet with the band and a pretty sweet merchandise package. In the weeks leading up to this show Leftover Salmon gave away dozens of tickets guaranteeing the hardcore fans got inside too. Relix also sponsored the live stream insuring thousands more could join along at home.
This was all in anticipation of Leftover Salmon’s opening set for Phil Lesh and the Terrapin Family Band the following night at Red Rocks. While the band has had various personnel changes over the years their current lineup is both vibrant and incredibly tight. The Salmon shift began with Andy Thorn on banjo, continued with Alwyn Robinson on drums and is now complete with Erik Deutsch on keys.
Meanwhile the elder statesmen of Slamgrass Vince Herman and Drew Emmitt continue to impress with innovative song writing and solid vocals. Bassist Greg Garrison rounds out the group with his lockstep bass and intricate lyrics.
“Evening folks, we’re just gonna play the new album if that’s all right with y’all.” - Drew Emmitt
With that inauspicious greeting they launched into the first track on the album, the road tune “Places.” This show really was a family affair with Vince calling out fans and dedicating songs throughout the evening. The album itself is the 11th outing from Leftover Salmon and feels to be an incredibly collaborative effort. Vince described “Show Me Something Higher” as an “Oreo cookie” of ideas. Deutsch’s keys add so much texture to not only the live performance but the album. He is incredibly versatile and he infuses a newness into Salmon’s overall sound. After the Vince sung tune of heartbreak “Southern Belle” Garrison took on the digital debate with his ode to vinyl “Analog.” Salmon’s politics were showing during “House of Cards,” while “Evermore” was Andy’s beautiful homage to Colorado living. “Astral Traveler” demonstrates another facet of Leftover’s sound. They are able to shift from bluegrass to a straight psychedelic space jam and back again effortlessly.
Alwyn san “Foreign Fields” which was written as a remembrance and a goodbye to one of his lost friends. His performance at eTown was truly moving. Andy again demonstrated his prowess on the banjo with the instrumental “Game of Thorns” before the band blasted off into the party tune “Let in a Little Light.” “Winter’s Gone” was a bouncy tune about springtime. Garrison’s downtempo “Burdened Heart” was the last tune on the album, but Leftover delighted the audience by playing a few more classics starting with their love song to Alfalfa’s Grocery Store in Boulder “When I Grow Up.” They ended their set with Drew’s unbelievable vocals on the fan favorite “Down In The Hollow.” They returned for a quick “Keep Driving” to encore the show.
Leftover Salmon is firing on all cylinders. With a slew of new songs and an eagerness to get on the road it’s only a matter of time. They are energized with new blood and new ideas. The music on Something Higher is eclectic, interesting and sure to excite audiences. Get out this summer and go see some Salmon. You can’t possibly be disappointed.
Authors: Nicholas Stock