Few bands stick around for thirty years. Even fewer bands leave a legacy during that time that marks them as a truly special, once-in-lifetime type band. And no band has done all that and had as much fun as Leftover Salmon. Since their earliest days as a forward thinking, progressive bluegrass band who had the guts to add drums to the mix and who was unafraid to stir in any number of highly combustible styles into their ever evolving sound, to their role as a pioneer of the modern jamband scene, to their current status as elder-statesmen of the scene who cast a huge influential shadow over every festival they play, Leftover Salmon has been a crucial link in keeping alive the traditional music of the past while at the same time pushing that sound forward with their own weirdly, unique style.
As Leftover Salmon nears their 30th year, their inspiring story is set to be told in a brand new book, Leftover Salmon: Thirty Years of Festival! that will be released February 2019 by Rowman & Littlefield. In this book, critically acclaimed author of Bluegrass in Baltimore: The Hard Drivin’ Sound & It’s Legacy, Tim Newby presents an intimate portrait of Leftover Salmon through the personal recollections of its band members, family, friends, former band-mates, managers, and the countless musicians they have influenced. Leftover Salmon: Thirty Years of Festival! is a thorough guide covering a thirty-year journey of a truly remarkable band. It is a tale of friendships and losses, musical discoveries and Wild West adventures, and the brethren they surround themselves with who fortify Salmon’s unique voice. Their story is one of tragedy and rebirth, of unimaginable highs and crushing lows, of friendships, of music, but most importantly it is the story of a special band and those that have lived through it all to create, inspire, and have everlasting fun.
Heading into their fourth decade Leftover Salmon is showing no signs of slowing down as they are coming off the release of their most recent album, Something Higher (released in 2018) which has been universally hailed as one of the band’s finest releases. Something Higher shows how even upon preparing to enter their fourth decade Leftover Salmon is proving it possible to recreate themselves without changing who they are. The band now features a line-up that has been together longer than any other in Salmon history and is one of the strongest the legendary band has ever assembled. Built around the core of founding members Drew Emmitt and Vince Herman, the band is now powered by banjo-wiz Andy Thorn, and driven by the steady rhythm section of bassist Greg Garrison, drummer Alwyn Robinson, and keyboardist Erik Deutsch. The new line-up is continuing the long, storied history of Salmon which found them first emerging from the progressive bluegrass world and coming of age as one the original jam bands, before rising to become architects of what has become known as Jamgrass and helping to create a landscape where bands schooled in the traditional rules of bluegrass can break free of those bonds through nontraditional instrumentation and an innate ability to push songs in new psychedelic directions live. Salmon is a band who over their thirty-year career has never stood still; they are constantly changing, evolving, and inspiring. If someone wanted to understand what Americana music is they could do no better than to go to a Leftover Salmon show, where they effortlessly glide from a bluegrass number born on the front porch, to the down-and-dirty Cajun swamps with a stop on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, to the hallowed halls of the Ryman in Nashville, before firing one up in the mountains of Colorado.
Virginian, Keller Williams, released his first album in 1994, FREEK, and has since given each of his albums a single syllable title: BUZZ, SPUN, BREATHE, LOOP, LAUGH, HOME, DANCE, STAGE, GRASS, DREAM, TWELVE, LIVE, ODD, THIEF, KIDS, BASS, PICK, FUNK, VAPE, SYNC, RAW, SANS, ADD, SPEED and CELL. Each title serves as a concise summation of the concept guiding each project. Keller’s albums reflect his pursuit to create music that sounds like nothing else. Un-beholden to conventionalism, he seamlessly crosses genre boundaries. The end product is music that encompasses rock, jazz, funk and bluegrass, and always keeps the audience on their feet. Keller built his reputation initially on his engaging live performances, no two of which are ever alike. For most of his career he has performed solo. His stage shows are rooted around Keller singing his compositions and choice cover songs, while accompanying himself on acoustic guitar, bass, guitar synthesizer and drum samples; a technique called live phrase sampling or “looping”. The end result often leans toward a hybrid of alternative folk and groovy electronica, a genre Keller jokingly calls “acoustic dance music” or ADM.” Keller's constant evolution has led to numerous band projects as well; Keller & The Keels, Grateful Grass, KWahtro, Keller and the Travelin’ McCourys, Grateful Gospel and More Than A Little to name a few. Keller can be found playing clubs and festivals around the U.S. with these projects throughout the year.
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