An Evening With Leftover Salmon

The Rialto Theatre Presents

An Evening With Leftover Salmon

May 20 Sat

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

The Rialto Theatre

$26 - $28

This event is all ages

General Admission, Limited Festival Seating in Rear Theatre. 

Leftover Salmon
Leftover Salmon
For the past quarter-century, Colorado’s Leftover Salmon has
established itself as one of the great purveyors of Americana
music, digging deep into the well that supplies its influences; rock‘n’ roll, folk, bluegrass, Cajun, soul, zydeco, jazz and blues.
They are firmly settled in the long lineage of bands that defy simple categorization, instead setting their own musical agenda. They are the direct descendants of bands like Little Feat, New
Grass Revival, Grateful Dead and The Band, born of the heart
and soul of America itself, playing music that reflects the
sounds emanating from the Appalachian hills, the streets of
New Orleans, the clubs of Chicago, the plains of Texas, and
the mountains of Colorado.
During Leftover Salmon’s twenty-five plus years as a band
they have headlined shows and festivals from coast to coast,
released nine albums, and maintained a vibrant, relevant and
influential voice in the music world. Over that time, Leftover
Salmon’s sound has grown and evolved while staying true to
the roots and guiding spirit of the band’s founding members
- mandolinist/singer Drew Emmitt and guitarist/singer Vince
The evolution of Leftover Salmon’s music is influenced by
Emmitt and Herman’s keen musical instincts, and follows a
musical path that adheres to the deep tradition the duo
started when they first formed the group along with deceased
banjo player Mark Vann. The addition of new band members
over the years has nurtured an unmistakable evolution and
freshness in Leftover Salmon’s sound, and has added an
edge to the long-lasting power of the band’s music. Today,
Leftover Salmon endures as a vital and significant presence
and holds an unequivocal stature as a truly legendary band.
Now fueled by the rhythm section of drummer Alwyn
Robinson, keyboardist Erik Deustch and long time bassist
Greg Garrison, the band is currently enjoying a creative
renaissance. The front line trio of Emmitt, Herman and
prodigious banjo player Andy Thorn are continually
challenged and pushed in new directions as the band
collectively searches for new spaces and sounds within their
extensive catalog of songs.
Leftover Salmon’s greatness cannot simply be measured
through album and concert ticket sales. For a band as
unique as Leftover Salmon, that measure is found in their
impact on the music world as whole. With their unpredictable
approach in a live setting, their willingness to take chances
by fusing disparate musical styles together and their
incorporation of non-traditional bluegrass covers into their
repertoire, Leftover Salmon has pushed that progressive
bluegrass sound they were originally influenced by to the
next level.
Leftover Salmon are considered to be the architects of what has
become known as Jamgrass - where bands clearly schooled in
the traditional rules of bluegrass break free of those rules through non-traditional instrumentation and an innate ability to push songs in new psychedelic directions live. This has created
an altogether new dimension for bands such as The String
Cheese Incident, Yonder Mountain String Band, Railroad
Earth, Greensky Bluegrass, The Infamous Stringdusters and
countless others to inhabit. Leftover Salmon’s willingness to
never be boxed in by “normal” music standards has given the
bands that have followed in their wake the license to do and
try what they want.
The history of Leftover Salmon begins in 1989 when
members of Herman’s Salmon Heads could not make a New
Year’s Eve gig at the Eldorado Cafe in Crested Butte,
Colorado. Herman called on his buddy, fellow Boulder picker
Emmitt, to help supply a few players from his band, the Left
Hand String Band, to fill out the lineup for the evening. The
energy that night was unmistakable and Emmitt immediately
realized, “this could be something really cool.” Emmitt and
Herman soon shelved their respective bands and focused all
their energy into the new one - which they named Leftover
This set the stage for a long career that has relied as much
on spontaneous improvisation as it has on practiced skill.
With the combination of the Left Hand String Band’s
bluegrass tendencies and the Salmon Heads’ old-timey,
Cajun and zydeco-inspired insanity, it is easy to step back
and see Leftover Salmon as the natural evolution of
progressive bluegrass; the rebellious child of Hot Rize and
New Grass Revival with a healthy side of Beausoleil thrown
in for good measure. However, only seeing them in that light
devalues their widely divergent style and broad appeal.
Leftover Salmon’s distinctively quirky and original musical
personality quickly took shape around mandolin/guitar/fiddle
player Emmitt and his dynamic style and Herman’s front-man
persona that allows him to lead each show like a crazed,
joyous pied-piper. The addition of innovative banjo
powerhouse Vann, who had played with Emmitt in the Left
Hand String Band, allowed Leftover Salmon’s unique and
uncommonly compelling style to coalesce around the threeheaded monster of Herman, Emmitt, and Vann.
Early on, the band dug deep into the bluegrass and old-timey
cannon and discovered something interesting. “We found
that the older the song we played, the more old-timey
bluegrass it was, the rowdier the crowd would get,” says
Herman. “The slam dancing that took place was just out of
hand. People were just flailing across the room. We would
look at each on stage like, ‘Whoa,’ we could be onto
something here.” This discovery, combined with the band’s
willingness to incorporate everything from Cajun music to
calypso, rock, ska, and whatever else struck their fancy at
that moment. This led them to label their music “Polyethnic
Cajun Slamgrass”; this label still fits today, but the sound has
also continued to evolve in more modern, adventurous
As the band began to make an impact in the first half of the
1990s with the widespread reception of their first two albums
(1993’s Bridges to Bert and 1995’s live Ask the Fish),
Leftover Salmon found themselves comfortably aligned with
a new crop of similarly cutting-edge artists. These bands -
Phish, Widespread Panic, Blues Traveler, the Dave
Matthews Band and the Aquarium Rescue Unit among
others - took a decidedly grass roots approach to the music
business. Defined by their widely differing musical styles and
approaches and united by their always-evolving “go-forbroke”
live shows, they gathered under the loose title of “jam
bands”. This identified them as bands that toured
relentlessly, encouraging their fans to freely trade tapes of
their live shows, and characterized them as units who were
willing to investigate a combination of musical styles that
seemed misplaced anywhere else. While at first outside of
the public eye and the mainstream, these bands soon found
a home on the highly influential H.O.R.D.E. tour (which
Leftover Salmon was a part of in 1997), broke down music
business barriers, and created a musical revolution that
Leftover Salmon was at the forefront of.
Leftover Salmons’s 1997 major label debut Euphoria,
released on Hollywood records, was a raucous celebration
of Leftover Salmon’s signature slamgrass style. Their follow
up, 1999’s groundbreaking Nashville Sessions, pushed the
bar even higher while exploring what could be accomplished
by a band that was not afraid to break free of traditional
labels. The album pulled together an army of A-list musicians
from all walks-of-life including Waylon Jennings, Earl
Scruggs, Del McCoury, Taj Mahal, Bela Fleck, Sam Bush,
Jerry Douglas, Lucinda Williams, and John Bell who teamed
with Leftover Salmon to create a truly grand celebration of
American music.
In 2002, founding member Vann lost his battle with cancer.
Before his death, he implored the band to continue after he
was gone. The band’s legacy was already well secure, but
they heeded his advice and continued touring with the help
of a cadre of banjo-playing friends including Jeff Mosier,
Scott Vestal, Tony Furtado, and Matt Flinner. Leftover
Salmon released a live tribute album to Vann in 2002,
entitled Live, which featured the last lineup that Vann was a
part of. This was followed by another groundbreaking
collaboration, 2003’s O’Cracker Where Art Thou?, which
found the band backing up David Lowery and Johnny
Hickman from the alternative rock band Cracker. The album
re-imagined Cracker tunes in ways not thought possible
before. The following year brought the self titled Leftover
Salmon - the band’s first studio album since Vann’s passing.
Over the ensuing years, the band continued to tour non-stop
as they had always done before.
In 2005 after fifteen years together, the band took a break
from the road in order to focus on other projects and
individually regroup from the impact Vann’s passing had on
the band. However, the power of Leftover Salmon was just
too much to contain, and in 2007 the band returned in full
force. Since then the line-up has solidified around Emmitt,
Herman, Garrison, Robinson, Thorn, and newest member
Leftover Salmon has released two studio albums since their
return; 2012’s Aquatic Hitchhiker, and 2014’s High Country,
both produced by Los Lobos’ Steve Berlin. The band
celebrated their 25th Anniversary in 2015 with the release of
the live album 25, which complied performances from the
previous two years and the band’s collaborations with Little
Feat keyboardist Bill Payne. Leftover Salmon continues to
deliver powerful performances on stages and at festivals
across the country, reaffirming their presence as one of the
most engaging and charismatic bands to ever hit the touring
For Emmitt, looking back on over twenty-five plus years in
Leftover Salmon, he is proud of their humble beginnings,
their lengthy list of accomplishments, and the lasting impact
they have. “I never would have dreamed that I would have
been in a band that furthered that musical tradition I looked
up to growing up,” says Emmitt. “To be able to take the
influences I had, and go even further with it, with Leftover
Salmon. Making it more of a rock ‘n’ roll thing, but still playing
bluegrass - that was the vision. Going from the campground
to the main stage, that has been like a fairy tale for us
    191 Toole
  • Bookmans Entertainment Exchange
  • The Rialto Theatre
    318 E. Congress St.
    Tucson AZ 85701

    Box Office : M-Sat noon-6pm

    (520) 740-1000

  • The Rialto Theatre Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the stewardship and preservation of the historic Rialto Theatre, a unique entertainment venue and cornerstone of downtown Tucson, offering a broad range of high-quality performing arts that are reflective of the diverse and vibrant community it serves.