The salmon’s not swimming, but Vince Herman keeps spirit alive
According to Vince Herman, it’s hard to keep the salmon machine running. “We put the salmon to rest for awhile,” said the creator of the band Leftover Salmon. “It was big and complicated with a tour bus and big crew.”Though Herman’s new project, the Vince Herman Trio, features only three members, fans shouldn’t worry about getting Leftover’s leftovers.
With Herman’s “twin of a different mom” Randy Crouch from Ekoostik Hookah on rock ‘n’ roll fiddle and Cliff Starbuck from Ekoostik Hookah playing banjo, bass and guitar, there’s plenty of the same energy and spontaneity that folks have come to expect from a Leftover show. But there are differences, both obvious – the trio doesn’t have a drummer – and more nuanced, like the self-described “Cajun-Americana” style of the band. “The stuff we’ll be doing as a trio will be real different,” Herman said. “We’ll be dashing around a lot of songs that come from Americana.” And what is Americana? Mostly folk and bluegrass – the musical heartbeat of American culture, Herman said. Since the trio draws from core American sounds, they’ll go after the political spirit as well. “Music has always been a powerful weapon at the heart of history,” he said. “The line continues with folk and bluegrass, but the individual characters don’t matter.”
But coming together does. Herman’s post-Leftover collaborations have invoked the musical styles of diverse musicians, both dead and alive. Last year, he played with the Spirit of Guthrie tour, where he met Crouch. The tour was held in support of the recently discovered notebooks of the late Woody Guthrie. “We were playing tunes that Woody would be writing if he were around right now,” Herman said. For fans that missed the Leftover’s slamgrass style, Herman put in appearances throughout the year with the “seven-piece, hippie country big band” Great American Taxi. Add these to shows with Shanti Groove, and it’s clear that Herman has consistently upheld his (prehistoric) musical ideas. “The lines of music go way back to primitive man,” he said. “It has always been a way for people to come together to reflect the culture and ask questions and celebrate.”
Herman said he looks for this attitude in his audiences as well. “Back when Leftover started, people wanted to know why we wanted to play to a bunch of drunken ski bums,” he said. “But those people were ready to react … they would just slam. And that’s always inspiring.”Lindsey Krusen can be reached at email@example.com or at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13112.
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