By Lindsay Nichols
Leftover Salmon has been an exceptional part of the Colorado music scene since 1989. Through the years, they’ve truly grown into themselves as a band. They are an admired, well-oiled machine, which in turn has earned them a huge, adoring fanbase.
Leftover formed in Boulder as a result of a merger between Vince Herman, Drew Emmitt and Mark Vann. For 15 years the band toured relentlessly and underwent many ups and downs, including the untimely passing of Vann in 2002.
At the end of 2004, they decided to take a break from the constant touring and went on hiatus. This lasted a little over two years, and in 2007 the band started playing some shows together again.
For the past couple of years, Leftover Salmon has selected a few choice festivals and mini-runs where they perform.
On February 23, as part of a “Winter Run” mini-tour, they’re hitting up the Aggie Theatre.
Scene had the chance to catch up with legendary mandolinist Drew Emmitt, whose songwriting as well as lead and harmony vocals are the heart of the sound of Leftover Salmon.
Scene: What was your best memory from last year?
DE: There are too many to pick just one! Telluride was really great. It was really fun to play with friends and family. Halloween at the Fillmore and Red Rocks with Yonder [Mountain String Band] were a ton of fun, too.
Scene: How does living in Colorado influence your musical style?
DE: Colorado is a great place to live! It’s so inspiring and it helps me be more creative. The nature here is amazing, and the great outdoors really brings people together, especially for festivals. There’s no other place like it.
Scene: What’s your favorite stage to play on?
DE: Red Rocks or Telluride. Both are really grandiose and amazing. Red Rocks is a venue with so much history, and I grew up seeing concerts on that stage. The acoustics are amazing. And Telluride is just really beautiful.
Scene: How about Mishawaka?
DE: Yes, definitely Mishawaka. We had a really fun time last spring playing the Waterfront Music Festival there.
Scene: How have you changed your musical style over the years?
DE: In a lot of ways. We started out as electric bluegrass, playing more gigs – we really aimed to put together a rockin’ bar band playing ski towns. We’ve really evolved to having more of our own sound, borrowing less from others. We’ve grown up as people and musicians, and by playing lots and lots of shows we defined the band as we went along. We’ve gone from being Cajun rock to more of a bluegrass rock band.
Scene: At the moment, who is your biggest influence musically?
DE: I like so many different kinds of music; it’s always changing – everything from the Beatles, Sam Bush, Mick Jagger, John Coltrane and Led Zeppelin to Mozart and Bach.
Scene: Robert Plant is playing at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival this summer. How do you feel about that?
DE: I’m really excited! Billy [Nershi] and I are playing too. Robert Plant is so inspiring; he’s one of my biggest influences.
Scene: If you could play with any musician in history (dead or alive) who would it be?
DE: Robert Plant, Jimmy Page, anyone from Led Zeppelin. Or Eric Clapton.
Scene: What are three words you would use to describe Leftover Salmon?
DE: It’s tough to narrow down, but I would say fun, adventurous, and spontaneous.
Log onto www.aggietheater.com for information on how to purchase tickets to Leftover Salmon’s show on February 23. Also, check out the band’s website at www.leftoversalmon.com.