Sweet 2016: Leftover Salmon making two-night splash at North Lake Tahoe
CRYSTAL BAY, Nev. — For close to 20 years, Leftover Salmon, a legendary jam band from Boulder, Colo., has been bringing their feet-stomping infusion of bluegrass, country and rock to Lake Tahoe.
And every year, the six-piece outfit relishes in performing on the North Shore — just as they will this weekend for their two-night stand at the Crystal Bay Casino on Friday and Saturday to ring in 2016.
“It’s such a fun gig,” said Vince Herman, a vocalist, guitarist and washboard player for the group. “You can stay there at the casino, hit the tables before and after the gig, and sometimes when you clear through in the morning.
“We’re looking forward to a couple of nights there, that’s for sure.”
Aside from shooting craps and hugging blackjack tables in the cacophonous casino, Herman and his bandmates are eager to stalk the Crown Room stage and whip up a frenzied atmosphere with their roots-centric sound the band’s dubbed “Polyethnic Cajun Slamgrass.”
“People are pretty wild and rowdy up there,” Herman said of Tahoe. “It’s a ski town, that always brings an extra rowdiness to gigs. Tahoe is just a good crew of people, and it’ll be a fun couple nights of music — a lot of dancing, a lot of fiery instrumentals and rowdy people having a good time. Just what you want to do to start the year.”
‘WE STILL GOT THE STUPID BAND’
Leftover Salmon — whose current lineup consists of Herman, Drew Emmitt (vocals/strings), Greg Garrison (bass/vocals), Alwyn Robinson (drums), Andy Thorn (vocals/banjo) and Bill Payne (piano/vocals) — is on the heels of a live album titled “25” that was released in November.
Coincidentally, and to Herman, humorously, the release came a week after global pop star Adele dropped her album of the same moniker.
“It’s the same name as Adele’s, but we haven’t had any accidental downloads yet — it’s a bummer,” Herman joked.
A compilation of 25 songs culled from live performances in 2013 and 2014, Leftover Salmon’s “25” commemorates the collective’s quarter-century anniversary as a band.
It’s an impressive run for any band, but especially one that formed by accident. In 1989 Herman’s then-band the Salmon Heads recruited members of the Left Hand String Band to fill in some missing spots in its lineup for a show in Colorado.
Leftover Salmon was born, and it quickly grew into a band NPR’s Mountain Stage heralded as “one of the most beloved acts on America’s summer-festival circuit.”
“We thought that was going to be one gig, and 25 years later we still got the stupid band,” Herman said with a laugh.
Since then, the bluegrass rockers have released eight studio albums and two live albums and have crisscrossed the country playing venues big and small.
“Just the number one thing is sticking to it,” Herman said of the band’s longevity. “It’s always fun music when there’s good players and were always focused on bringing a good time to the crowd.”
Front Country opening for Leftover Salmon
Front Country, a progressive bluegrass outfit from the Bay Area, will open for Leftover Salmon during their two-night stand on the North Shore.
“We’re really excited about opening up for Leftover Salmon,” said guitarist Jacob Groopman. “And it’s a really nice venue. I’ve always liked playing there; it sounds really good and it’s a good crowd … I really like the room a lot.”
Front Country is playing in support of its first full-length album “Sake of the Sound.”
“It’s pretty eclectic,” Groopman said. “It represents the various sides of what we do — there’s a pop side, instrumental songs, some original songs and some cover songs.
“We’re very proud of it. I’m sure we’re going to play a bunch of songs off of that at the show in Tahoe.”
Learn more about Leftover Salmon at leftoversalmon.com.
Learn more about Front Country at frontcountryband.com.