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SUWANNEE SUMMER CLUSTERPLUCK ARTIST ADDITIONS!

SUWANNEE SUMMER CLUSTERPLUCK ARTIST ADDITIONS!

Vince Herman and Drew Emmitt (Leftover Salmon),
artist-at-large Rev. Jeff Mosier and Pickled Holler
June 23 & 24, 2017 at Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, FL Continue reading SUWANNEE SUMMER CLUSTERPLUCK ARTIST ADDITIONS!

Interview! Leftover Salmon’s Vince Herman and Billy Payne

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Words and Images by Tim Newby

This New Year’s Eve Leftover Salmon celebrated twenty-five years as a band.  In that time they have established themselves as true-leaders of the jam-grass scene with their influential and unique mix of sounds and styles that has branded them as a truly special one-of-a-kind band that is beyond description.  For many bands entering their 25th year they seem to be on cruise control, coasting towards retirement.  But Leftover Salmon is not one of those bands.  Since their return from a brief three-year hiatus from 2004-2007 following the death of founding member and banjo picker extraordinaire Mark Vann, the band has been anything but coasting.  The addition of Andy Thorn in 2010 on banjo seemed to push the band to new, exciting,  innovative heights.  The release of the 2012 album, Aquatic Hitchhiker, only confirmed this.

As the band enters its 25th year it continues to reach brand new heights and never seems to rest on past achievements.  Much like the addition of Thorn  a few years prior, a new band member added in 2014, legendary keyboardist Billy Payne from Little Feat, heralded new musical  peaks for a band that only seems to be getting better with age.  Following the addition of Payne, Leftover Salmon released their eighth album, High Country.

Following the release of their newest album Leftover Salmon founder, guitarist and singer Vince Herman, and newest addition Billy Payne checked in with Honest Tune to discuss the band’s twenty-five years, the addition of Payne, their newest album, and what the future holds for Leftover Salmon.

 

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Honest Tune: Thanks for checking in with us, what have you been up to lately?

Vince Herman: Playing music. [laughs} If they weren’t paying us for this I would be out doing it anyway. It has been almost twenty-five years, it will be twenty-five years this New Years. We are just ridiculously and incredibly lucky that we have been doing this for long and we have played with many of the good kind of people. Now we got Bill Payne in the band. He is one of the most recorded keyboardists in rock n roll.

 

HT: How did it come about to have Bill join the band full time?

 VH: He produced a record of ours (2004’s Leftover Salmon) right before we went on hiatus. We had a great relationship with him and we did a bunch of shows with Little Feat. I have been going to Jamaica to the last five or six years to be part of the Little Feat fan fest. We have just played music in a bunch of different situations with Bill and we have good friendship and camaraderie on a number of different levels. He is a great writer and he is a good guy to sit around with on the bus.

DSCN2593editedBill Payne: I worked on a record with them. I produced a record for them that followed the concerts in tribute to Mark Vann. Paul Barrere and I were both part of those gigs. It was a bunch of people. It is a small enough world. Dave Miller was the monitor engineer at those shows and he had worked with Little Feat so there are just a lot of connections that happens with bands.

The guys got in touch with me a few years about playing a gig in Laramie, Wyoming. Andy Hall was playing, Sam Bush, and a couple of other folks and they asked me to play and I said sure I will play. So we kind of hit it off there. From there it just sort of blossomed into a gig about a year ago at Thanksgiving. I played with them in Boulder for two nights and then they asked if I wanted to go to Mexico with them (for Strings & Sol 2013). I said sure. Then I started doing dates regularly around New Years with them.

I just think they are a great band and the way these things work is I know I bring my own stamp in, but it works both ways. Leftover Salmon is a wonderful group of musicians and I love their material. They have three really great singers in Vince, Drew, and Andy. I can sing too. So we are really opening up what we can do. I think Vince recognized the best way to see what we could do would be to just ask me to join the band.

 

DSCN2611editedHT: I was at those shows in Mexico and it really worked.  I think you are such a natural fit with Salmon.  There are so many similarities that can be drawn between Little Feat and Leftover Salmon. Was there any thought at that time on your part that you might like to join full time?

BP: The thought had crossed all of our minds I’m pretty sure. I kind of held off because I wanted to see how everything would fit. I think I said why don’t we just consider that we are dating and took it in that direction. There is no rush. Little Feat is not doing anything right now. We might be in Jamaica in March. I am hoping Paul Barrere is healthy enough to make it down with us.

 

HT: What does Bill bring to the band that’s different?

VH: It is really cool to see our rhythm section go off on these improvs with Bill and go somewhere that Drew and Andy and I could never lead and Bill can. His vocabulary is so ridiculously large and when he improvises he can go absolutely anywhere. Those improvs are something that I don’t think the band has hit so consistently.

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HT: Bill, what has it been like for you to join these guys?

BP: I liken playing with these guys to being in the middle of a lake., and you are on your water-skis and you are going to be pulled out of the water at a moment’s notice by the world’s fastest boat so you better just hang on. That is how it is playing with these cats. They can play just about anything. Alwyn Robinson on drums and Greg Garrison on bass, those two cats as far as their musicianship and being able to take it to a lot of different places whether on a jazz level or other areas makes it a great experience for all us. Drew is phenomenal with his mandolin, guitar, and violin playing. Each and every one of these cats on their own is very strong. It reminds me of Little Feat in that regard because that was the way we were as a band. We were all pretty strong in our respective areas as well. And I think that’s what really makes a great group and enables them to generate a lot of momentum.

 

HT: Vince, it must be great to bring in someone who has such a large musical vocabulary and can speak so many musical languages.

VH: Yeah, you know we think it’s a pretty good fit. {laughs} He has really unique things to add. I just feel lucky as hell that I play with these cats, Drew and Andy, and all the guys that have been in the band over the years. I have a personal philosophy to always be the worst player in your band. It has worked for me.

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BP: [laughs} Vince is a wonderful player. He is just such a diamond in the rough. He is in a very good place to discover who he is. He knows who is, but he is still in that place of not quite believing he can play the guitar. He never comes off like he is shy, but when you play in this band you better be ready to step up. The rhythm section he has is a very good cushion, maybe better than what he had before.   I think that’s what we are doing now. It’s the dichotomy of feeling comfort and going to comfort zones, but still challenging each other. And that’s what keeps bands together for a good length of time. And it’s what keeps bands and their audience on a level where they keep progresses together, and are able to see it grow which makes it exciting for everyone.

 

HT: Is Bill on the new record (High Country, released November 2014)?

 VH: Yeah Bill is on the new record.

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HT: Did he contribute any songs?

VH: Just one called “Bluegrass Pines.” He wrote it with Robert Hunter. He has been writing with Robert Hunter lately.

BP: It’s like a lot of stuff I would do with Little Feat. Robert does the lyrics and I do the music and the melody. He is such a wonderful cat to write with.

 

HT: How was the approach to High Country? Any different than what you have done in the past?

VH: On this one we wrote some tunes together, mostly though we each kind of each showed up with tunes. The next album is going to be real New Orleans-centric. I think it will be more of a concept. Whereas High Country there is a thread running through it still has a whole lot of variety of ideas and topics running through it. It is definitely a Salmon record.

 

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HT: And Salmon records are always a party. You guys seem to really be enjoying what you are doing right now and the addition of Bill seems to have invigorated you even more.

 VH: Yeah we are really psyched about the new record, High Country. We might also have a live release coming out soon. And then we are going to go to New Orleans to work on a new record and we are starting to write for that now. Writing with Bill is a really fun process.

 

HT: Will that new album be out this year?

 VH: No, we will try and record it in the fall so it will probably be 2016. I guess I bring it up because we are fired up as we look down the road and we are making these cool plans. We got a trip to Hawaii going on. We are going to Alaska, Strings and Sol in Mexico. Ski tour in the winter. Then we start festival stuff up. It’s pretty exciting to be going into year twenty-five and have so much to do. It is a good place to be.

 

los6475HT: Besides the lineup of the band what do you think has changed for you over the last twenty-five years, Vince?

VH: There have been so many different phases of this band that I have liked. I started playing with Drew when I was just out of college. It was pretty footloose and hippie van when we first started. There was my first marriage and then there was another marriage. You go through all these periods of your life and somehow the band kept going constantly right through them all. It has changed a lot over that time. We used to do a five or six week tour. I can’t imagine doing that now. At one point we were playing like 230-240 shows a year.

 

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HT: As a band you seem to be in a really good place, you can go where you want, when you want, and be the life of the party at every festival you go to. At this point twenty-five years in is there anyone you still look to as an idol or whose career you look to emulate?

 VH: Probably Lorde. {laughs} It’s like wow she’s 17. I guess Tim Obrien comes to mind. He was my inspiration to move from West Virginia to Colorado in the early eighties to see Hot Rize and be part of that bluegrass scene. Tim has always been an inspiration to me. You find your musical niche that you love playing and bluegrass was that niche for me. You don’t make Lady Gaga money in bluegrass but you can have a long career in this music. It’s not like you are burnt out with the audience because of over exposure.

 

HT: And bluegrass fans are very faithful.

 VH: They are. And I love what John Hartford said, “If bluegrass music was any more popular I would have to play it to people I don’t even know.”

Watch Leftover Salmon celebrate 25 years at the Vic Theatre in Chicago 12/13/14

 

 

 

 

Kinfolk Celebration 2014

Kinfolk Celebration 2014   kinfolk2014_4.25x6_NEW_zoo   Our friends in the Yonder Mountain String Band are throwing one hell of a party at Planet Bluegrass in a couple of weeks!  With the bands regular special guests Jake Joliff and the fiery Allie Kral already making mad sparks with Adam, Ben and Dave they’re joined by super stars like John Bell of Widespread Panic, Ronnie McCoury and Jason Carter of the Travelin’ McCourys, Drew Emmitt and even the Patron Saint of Festivals Vince Herman. A once in a life time set of music and mayhem is on it’s way!  With full sets by The Travelin’ McCourys, Head For The Hills and the up and coming Gipsy Moon the fun will run till the wee hours of the night.  Tickets and information available HERE     Kinfolk Poster

Leftover Salmon, 3/26/14

Leftover Salmon
Terrapin Crossroads
San Rafael, California
March 26, 2014

Leftover Salmon took the stage at San Rafael’s Terrapin Crossroads, and with Little Feat’s Bill Payne joining in, the evening turned out to be one special night. Photographer Susan Weiand was there at Phil Lesh’s venue to catch it all, and you can check out the images below.

Photos & Video: Outtakes, Interviews and On The Scene at The Festy

Several weeks ago, we presented a two-part series consisting of exclusive acoustic performances recorded while onsite at The Festy Experience. After doing so, we quickly realized that we not only had a copious amount of content remaining, but that we had yet to do the splendid event the true justice that it deserves.

After a long summer of events — some large, some small — The Festy Experience turned out to be something that was beyond imagination. In turn, it was the perfect way to “close out” a busy summer festival season.

From location to weather, lineup, activities and overall vibe, the event truly was “an experience.” As we noted in an earlier segment, it was akin to stumbling upon a diamond in the rough. 

In our attempt to provide the blissful weekend its due representation, we present Photos, Outtakes, Interviews and On The Scene at The Festy Experience with The Wood Brothers, Brett Dennen, The Infamous Stringdusters, Larry Keel, Sarah Siskind and Emmitt-Nershi Band.

 

 

Outtakes, Interviews and On The Scene at The Festy

 

Click the thumbnail(s) to view photos from The Festy by David Shehi

The Festy Experience: Exclusive Acoustic Sessions, part I (VIDEO)

This past weekend, a diamond in the rough was found when we stumbled upon The Festy Experience. With a picturesque setting, the site that was nestled in the Virginia Blue Ridge Mountain range played host to not only some of the finest bluegrass, Americana and roots music, but also to an impeccable vibe where strangers greeted strangers with smiles, courtesy and warmness.

In the middle of it all was a beautiful large house that we asked artists to pass through for a series of exclusive acoustic sessions with Honest Tune. Fortunately, they agreed and what happened within those walls was pure magic.

In this first part of the series, we are graced with stellar performances from Emmitt-Nershi Band, Sarah Siskind and Toubab Krewe.

Acoustic Sessions at The Festy : Emmitt-Nershi “This House”

Acoustic Sessions at The Festy : Toubab Krewe

Acoustic Sessions at The Festy : Sarah Siskind “Take Me”

6th Annual String Summit at Hornings Hideout

The Northwest’s premier acoustic music festival returns for its sixth year to beautiful Horning’s Hideout in North Plains, Oregon, on August 24-26.  The event boasts three days of nearly all-acoustic music, culminating each night with main stage performances from musical hosts Yonder Mountain String Band, this year joined by special guest fiddler Darol Anger (David Grisman Quintet, Psychograss).

Also on the bill are New Riders of the Purple Sage with original members David Nelson and Buddy Cage along with Hot Tuna guitarist Michael Falzarano; Banjo legend and teacher of Steve Martin, Tony Trischka, will perform with full band; Drew Emmitt of Leftover Salmon will perform with his band and host the acclaimed String Summit superjam.  Past year’s Super Jam performers have included Chris Thile, David Grisman, Vasser Clements, Hot Rize, Jerry Douglas and Tim O’Brien.

On Friday evening (August 24), String Summit presents the fourth annual Band Contest, where four competition finalists will compete for the opportunity to perform on the main stage the following year.

The tree-lined landscape of Horning’s Hideout is the perfect serene setting for an intimate weekend of all acoustic music.  Located just 20 minutes west of Portland and nestled in a hidden canyon of the rolling hills, dense trees and peacocks, Horning’s Hideout is truly one of Oregon’s best kept secrets.  All ages are welcome and children under 10 years old are free with a paying adult.  Three-day festival passes include music, crafts and vending, and plenty of on-site camping and parking.  A family/disabled camping area is available.  Tickets are $115 – $135.00 and are on sale now at www.ticketswest.com

For more information and ticketing links visit the official NWSS website at www.stringsummit.com.

Leftover Salmon ends hiatus, confirms summer festival appearances

Colorado-based Leftover Salmon announces it will return to the stage later this year.  Confirmed by a statement today from band manager John Joy the return will mark the end to the band’s 27-month hiatus.

Following the band’s last live performance on New Year’s Eve 2004 in Boulder, audiences nationwide will once again hear the trademark polyethnic-cajun-slamgrass sound that propelled the group from its humble Rocky Mountain beginnings to international critical acclaim.

The returning lineup for Leftover Salmon features Vince Herman (acoustic guitar, vocals), Drew Emmitt (mandolin, guitar, vocals), Jeff Sipe (drums), Greg Garrison (bass, vocals), Bill McKay (keyboards, vocals), and Noam Pikelny (banjo).

The confirmed performances have the band making festival appearances on opposite coasts including the High Sierra Music Festival in Northern California and the All Good Music Festival in West Virginia’s hills.

Confirmed 2007 Performances:

High Sierra Music Festival – Quincy, CA 
2 performances: Saturday, July 7 and Sunday, July 8

All Good Music Festival – Masontown, WV
Sunday, July 15

 

Leftover Salmon was formed by accident in 1989, when a local band, the Salmon Heads, asked members of the Left Hand String Band to fill some missing spots in its lineup.  The synergy worked and the resulting quintet went on to pioneer its own genre. 

After the independent release of Bridges to Bert in 1993 and the 1995 live follow-up Ask The Fish, Leftover Salmon gained a spot on the H.O.R.D.E. festival tour and a contract with Hollywood Records. Their Hollywood debut and second studio album, Euphoria, continued to define their eclectic sound and introduced many songs that would become classics for the band.

Other releases include The Nashville Sessions (1999) featuring scores of famous Nashville artists and session musicians as collaborators; Live (2002) the first recording with the new rhythm section, O Cracker, Where Art Thou? (2003) featuring Cracker members David Lowery and Johnny Hickman with LS as the backing band, and Leftover Salmon (2004) first studio record since the loss of founding member, banjoist Mark Vann.

Each of the band’s releases cements its contemporary sound with the solid genre-bending fusion of newgrass, folk and blues. Through the course of the initial 15 years of Leftover Salmon has performed music with such contemporaries as Sam Bush, Bela Fleck, David Grisman, Jerry Douglas, Del McCoury, Peter Rowan, Pete Wernick, Col. Bruce Hampton, Oteil Burbridge, Bill Payne, Darol Anger, Mike Marshall, Pete Sears, Todd Park Mohr, Tony Furtado, Theresa Andersson, along with members of the The String Cheese Incident, Widespread Panic, Yonder Mountain String Band and dozens of additional artists.

The band continues to break new ground with its highly energetic live performances and initiate new fans with each show.

Official Leftover Salmon website: www.leftoversalmon.com