Leftover Salmon have slowly become a bit of a staple across the US jam band circuit. That circuit punches way above the perceived weight, given the ticket sales such bands can attract. If the Grateful Dead were the template, a fusion of rock with any other genre you might snatch out the air, and a modus operandi for long and complicated instrumental freeform forays, Leftover Salmon have that to a T. Their shtick: a constant whiff of bluegrass seeping into the mix and instrumentation, further even than the Dead ever strayed. Heck, frontman and guitarist Vince Herman even has a vague look of latter-day Jerry Garcia, crossed with a current day Bob Weir, burly of frame and white of beard and locks. They may be under the radar to most, but with their new release Grass Roots, the band step out of the shadows of their scene, not so much into a different light as a light that will bring them more visibility.
Grass Roots (get it?) is their take on the sort of songs that both inspired them and taught them to play, a mix of trad and the expected culprits: the Dead, of course, and Dylan, with David Bromberg and the Seldom Scene also getting a nod. Their own description is their house style is polyethnic Cajun slamgrass, and who can argue with that? Instrumentation ranges from the expected of their rock progeny: guitars, bass, drums, with the bass as equally likely to be stand-up as plugged in and electric, to the the mandolins, banjos, fiddles and dobros of the mountain roots, with new added keyboards for added pizazz. All sing a bit.
Continue reading »