Leftover Salmon

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Leftover Salmon
Leftover Salmon at Red Rocks 2016
Leftover Salmon at Red Rocks 2016
Background information
OriginBoulder, Colorado, U.S.
Years active1989–present
LabelsHollywood, Compass, Compendia, Los Records, Whirled Beats
  • Jay Starling
Past members

Leftover Salmon is an American jam band from Boulder, Colorado, formed in 1989. The band's music is a blend of bluegrass, rock, country, and Cajun/Zydeco(Polyethnic Slamgrass.) Over their thirty years as a band Salmon have released seven studio albums and three live albums. The band celebrated their continuing thirty-year career with the release of the biographical book, Leftover Salmon: Thirty Years of Festival! and a vinyl box-set re-release of all of their studio albums.[1]


The band formed in 1989, when members of the Salmon Heads, Vince Herman, Dave Dorian, and Gerry Cavagnaro, combined with members of the Left Hand String Band, Drew Emmitt and Glenn Keefe, to play a New Year's Eve show in 1989 at the Eldo in Crested Butte. Herman had previously played with Emmitt in the Left Hand String Band, and had called on his former bandmates Emmitt and Keefe to fill in for some missing members of the Salmon Heads for the New Year's Eve show. They chose the name Leftover Salmon on the drive to the show.[2]

The synergy worked and the result was Leftover Salmon. The lineup changed significantly over the years, but the "Big Three" – Drew Emmitt, Vince Herman and Mark Vann — remained the heart of the band until Vann's death in 2002.[3][4]

After the independent release of Bridges to Bert in 1993 [5] and the 1995 live follow-up Ask the Fish,[6] Leftover Salmon gained a spot on the H.O.R.D.E. festival tour and a contract with Hollywood Records.[3] Their Hollywood debut and second studio album, Euphoria with guest keyboardist Pete Sears, continued to define their eclectic sound and introduced many songs that became their most notable. They released four albums with the Disney owned label.[4] In 1999, Nashville Sessions was released, with guests: Waylon Jennings, Jerry Douglas, Lucinda Williams, John Bell, Del McCoury, Ronnie McCoury Bela Fleck, Sam Bush, John Cowan, Todd Park Mohr, Earl Scruggs, Randy Scruggs, Jeff Hanna, Sally Van Meter, Jeff Coffin, Jo-el Sumner, Danny Boone and Reese Wynans. In 2000, Bill McKay, formerly of the Derek Trucks Band, joined the band on keyboards and vocals and the band recorded several of his songs. He remained with the band until late 2011.

In March 2002, founding member and banjoist Mark Vann died from cancer.[7] He was succeeded by Matt Flinner and then Noam Pikelny.[8]

In 2003, the band teamed up with David Lowery and Johnny Hickman of Cracker (and formerly Camper Van Beethoven), to release the critically acclaimed 10 song album, "O' Cracker Where Art Thou?" (Pitch a Tent), 2003, which was a compilation of ten of Cracker's best songs done Leftover Salmon style.

In 2004, the band announced they were going on hiatus at the end of that year.[9]

An award-nominated documentary film of Leftover Salmon, titled Years in Your Ears, was released on DVD in November 2006.[10]

Leftover Salmon reunited in 2007 and played six performances, including the High Sierra Music Festival in Quincy, California, the All Good Festival in West Virginia, as well as Denver and Boulder, Colorado shows in late December. Leftover Salmon marked their unofficial return to the stage with a performance at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival on Sunday, June 24, 2007, as "Drew Emmitt and Vince Herman and Friends." They were introduced by Jeff Austin of Yonder Mountain String Band with the line, "We know what it might say in the program, but I think we all really know what's going on here."[11]

Despite their various successful side projects, Leftover Salmon played seven times during the summer of 2008 and 2009.[12] For a special New Years run, the band celebrated 20 years as a band by returning to the site of their first show in Crested Butte, Colorado: The Eldo. The band played four shows through Denver and Boulder Colorado during this run while celebrating their 20th anniversary. Since moving Andy Thorn in to the banjo role, the band has been touring more than usual with small runs throughout the country.

On May 22, 2012, the band released their first album since their hiatus. The album was called Aquatic Hitchhiker.[12] An extensive promotional tour followed including the Summer Camp Music Festival and the Telluride Bluegrass Festival.[13]

Starting on June 19, 2012, the band is the featured "house band" at the Whales Tail Bar in Breckenridge, Colorado on the Deadliest Catch - After the Catch episodes.[14]

In 2015, they released the studio album High Country and the following year released a compilation double album of live performances with the title 25.[3] They released their next studio album, Something Higher, in 2018.

As the band neared their 30th anniversary they were profiled in the book Leftover Salmon: Thirty Years of Festival! by author Tim Newby. The book chronicled the band's long influential history and their role in the development of the jamband and jamgrass scenes.[15] In 2019, keyboardist Erik Deutsch left the group to join The Chicks.[16]

Band members[edit]

Current members[edit]

  • Vince Herman – Vocals, Guitar, Washboard (1989–present)
  • Drew Emmitt – Vocals, Mandolin, Fiddle, Electric Guitar (1989–present)
  • Greg Garrison – Bass, Vocals (2000–present)
  • Andy Thorn – Banjo, Electric Banjo, Vocals (2010–present)
  • Alwyn Robinson – Drums, Vocals (2013–present)
  • Jay Starling - keyboard, dobro (2022-present)

Former members[edit]

  • Mark Vann – Banjo, Electric Banjo (1989–2002)
  • Michael Wooten – Drums (1989–1997)
  • Glenn Keefe – Bass (1989–1993)
  • Joe Jogerst – Keyboards (1989–1993)
  • Tye North – Bass (1993–2000)
  • Gerry Cavagnaro - concertina, harmonica (1994 -1995)
  • Jeff Sipe – Drums (1997–2000, 2009–2011)
  • Noam Pikelny – Banjo, Electric Banjo (2002–2008)
  • Matt Flinner – Banjo (2009–2010)
  • Bill McKay – Keyboards, Vocals (2000–2011
  • Michael Sullivan – Fiddle, Vocals (2000–2008)
  • Jose Martinez – Drums (2000–2013)
  • Bill Payne – Piano, Organ, Vocals (2014-2015)
  • Erik Deutsch – Keyboards (2016–2020)

Featured artists

  • Danny Boone, featured in The Nashville Sessions
  • Waylon Jennings
  • Randy Scruggs

Selective discography[edit]


Leftover Salmon[edit]

Year Title Label
1993 Bridges to Bert Whirled Beets
1995 Ask the Fish Bert
1997 Euphoria Hollywood
1999 The Nashville Sessions Hollywood [17]
2002 Live Compass Records[18]
2004 Leftover Salmon Compendia [19]
2012 Aquatic Hitchhiker Los Records
2014 High Country Los Records [20]
2016 25 Los Records
2018 Something Higher Los Records
2021 Brand New Good Old Days Compass Records[21]
2023 Grass Roots Compass Records[22]



  • Years In Your Ears ...a Story of Leftover Salmon (2006, DVD)


  1. ^ Newby, Tim. "Americana Roots: Leftover Salmon". AmericanaUK. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
  2. ^ Hutchinson, Nick. "Q&A with Vince Herman of Leftover Salmon". Westword. Retrieved March 6, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c "Leftover Salmon - Biography & History - AllMusic". AllMusic. Archived from the original on May 6, 2015. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Jam on: 25 years on, Leftover Salmon still fresh". rgj.com. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  5. ^ "Bridges to Bert - Leftover Salmon - Songs, Reviews, Credits - AllMusic". AllMusic. Archived from the original on March 27, 2016. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  6. ^ "Ask the Fish". AllMusic. Archived from the original on July 19, 2016. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  7. ^ "Leftover Salmon's Mark Vann Dies". billboard.com. Archived from the original on October 19, 2016. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  8. ^ Greenhaus, Mike https://jambands.com/features/2004/03/30/leftover-salmon-self-titled-and-unmiced/ Jambands.com
  9. ^ "Leftover Salmon adds to its 25-year-long legacy". mmacmonthly.com. March 3, 2016. Archived from the original on April 2, 2016. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  10. ^ "Years in Your Ears, A Story of Leftover Salmon - Glide Magazine". glidemagazine.com. May 29, 2007. Archived from the original on March 3, 2018. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  11. ^ Leftover Salmon (June 24, 2007). "Leftover Salmon Live at 34th Annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival Main Stage on 2007-06-24". Archive.org. Retrieved February 2, 2018.
  12. ^ a b "Leftover Salmon's Vince Herman Discusses New Album, 'Aquatic Hitchhiker'". guitarplayer.com. Archived from the original on March 3, 2018. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  13. ^ "Check Out: Leftover Salmon – 'Aquatic Hitchhiker' (CoS Premiere)". consequence.net. March 28, 2012. Archived from the original on October 30, 2015. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  14. ^ "Leftover Salmon spawns new chapter – November 2012". www.countrystandardtime.com. Archived from the original on August 11, 2016. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  15. ^ Travers, Andrew. "Drew Emmitt looks back on thirty years of Leftover Salmon". The Aspen Times. Retrieved May 21, 2019.
  16. ^ Kenny-Cincotta, Raffaela. "Erik Deutsch: Greetings from Mexico City".
  17. ^ "The Nashville Sessions - Leftover Salmon - Songs, Reviews, Credits - AllMusic". AllMusic. Archived from the original on August 13, 2016. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  18. ^ "Live - Leftover Salmon - Songs, Reviews, Credits - AllMusic". AllMusic. Archived from the original on June 10, 2015. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  19. ^ "Leftover Salmon - Leftover Salmon - Songs, Reviews, Credits - AllMusic". AllMusic. Archived from the original on October 6, 2015. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  20. ^ "PHOTOS/REVIEW: Leftover Salmon – Boulder Theater 11/28/14 - Marquee Magazine". marqueemag.com. Archived from the original on February 17, 2015. Retrieved March 3, 2018.
  21. ^ Zimmerman, Lee (April 13, 2021). "Drew Emmitt talks Leftover Salmon and Brand New Good Old Days". bluegrasstoday.com. Retrieved May 1, 2021.
  22. ^ "Album Review: Leftover Salmon, 'Grass Roots'". folkalley.com. Folk Alley. May 23, 2023. Retrieved August 19, 2023.
  23. ^ "O Cracker, Where Art Thou? - Leftover Salmon - Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic. Archived from the original on April 28, 2017. Retrieved March 3, 2018.

External links[edit]