In their first quarter-century together, Colorado-based jamgrass pioneers Leftover Salmon have enjoyed substantial success as a touring act, becoming an influential anchor of the jam band scene with their string-led mix of bluegrass, rock, Cajun, and other American roots traditions.
Formed in 1989 in the college town of Boulder, they were born out of a merger between two local acts, the Salmon Heads and the Left Hand String Band. The initial chemistry of that early lineup solidified the longtime partnership of founders Vince Herman, Drew Emmitt, and Mark Vann. Heavy touring and two mid-'90s independent releases earned them both a spot at the high profile H.O.R.D.E. Festival and a label deal with the Disney-owned Hollywood Records. With the release of 1997's Euphoria and its 1999 follow-up, The Nashville Sessions, Leftover Salmon committed many of their best-known songs to their touring repertoire and grew a large and loyal national following with their unique sound. In 2002, banjoist Mark Vann lost his battle with throat cancer, tragically passing away at the age of 39. A handful of replacements worked to fill his shoes over the next two years, but by the end of 2004, the group announced they would go on hiatus. A tentative reunion tour of several festivals in 2007 announced Leftover Salmon's return to the stage and they continued to play sporadically throughout the rest of the decade while their members maintained various side projects. The arrival of banjoist Andy Thorn in 2010 sparked a new era for Leftover Salmon, who soon began touring more regularly. 2012 saw the release of Aquatic Hitchhiker, their first new album since 2004. Two years later, they sealed the deal with a follow-up album, High Country. In 2015, a double-album compilation of live cuts called 25 was released to commemorate Leftover Salmon's 25th anniversary. Working with longtime collaborator Steve Berlin of Los Lobos, the band issued the full-length Something Higher in 2018. ~ Timothy Monger, Rovi