Few bands stick around for 30 years. Even fewer bands leave a legacy that marks them as a truly special, once-in-lifetime type band. And no band has done all that and had as much fun as Leftover Salmon. Since their earliest days as a forward thinking, progressive bluegrass band who had the guts to add drums to the mix and who were unafraid to stir in any number of highly combustible styles into their ever-evolving sound, to their role as pioneers of the modern jamband scene, to their current status as influential elder-statesmen of that scene — casting a huge shadow over every festival they play — Leftover Salmon has been a crucial link in keeping the traditional music of the past alive, simultaneously pushing that sound forward with their own weirdly unique style.
The band marked their 30-year anniversary in 2019 with Leftover Salmon: Thirty Years of Festival!, an intimate portrait of Leftover Salmon through the personal recollections of its band members, family, friends, former band-mates, managers, and the countless musicians they have influenced. It is a tale of friendships and losses, musical discoveries and Wild West adventures, and the brethren they surround themselves with who fortify Salmon’s unique voice. Their story is one of tragedy and rebirth, of unimaginable highs and crushing lows, of friendships, of music, but most importantly it is the story of a special band and those that have lived through it all to create, inspire, and have everlasting fun.
In 2021, the band returned to Compass Records for their release Brand New Good Old Days. The band now features a line-up that has been together longer than any other in Salmon history and is one of the strongest the legendary group has ever assembled. Built around the core of founding members Drew Emmitt and Vince Herman, the band is now powered by banjo wiz Andy Thorn and driven by the steady rhythm section of bassist Greg Garrison and drummer Alwyn Robinson. This line-up is continuing the long, storied history of Salmon, which first found them emerging from the progressive bluegrass world and coming of age as one the original jam bands, before rising to become architects of what has become known as Jamgrass. Leftover Salmon were pivotal in creating a musical climate where bands schooled in the traditional rules of bluegrass could break free of those bonds, using nontraditional instrumentation and tapping into their innate ability to push songs in new psychedelic directions live.
Salmon is a band that has never stood still; they are constantly changing, evolving, and inspiring. If someone wanted to understand what Americana music is, they could do no better than to go to a Leftover Salmon show for a musical tour, with the band taking them to Appalachia for an old-time bluegrass song, stopping at Bourbon Street in New Orleans for a swampy Cajun-influenced number, to the hallowed halls of the Ryman in Nashville, before returning to the mountains of Colorado to fire one up.