Get some cold 'slamgrass' for free

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— Kicking off Steamboat's Seventh annual Nordic Combined World Cup, Boulder-based band Leftover Salmon will perform a free concert Wednesday for all ages. The polyethnic Cajun slamgrass band, starting at 6:30 p.m. on Eighth Street between Oak Street and Lincoln Avenue, will begin the celebration of the three-day nordic event.

And what would a celebration be without food, beverages, clowns and a parade? Everything from egg rolls to bratwurst and beer to Bailey's will be available, along with free posters and programs for the following three days. Clowns juggling fire and a parade of 30 to 40 athletes from around the world will precede Leftover Salmon's venue.

Great Knight Productions, a business focused on scheduling and producing concerts all over Colorado, Wyoming and Montana, chose Leftover Salmon because of the group's increasing popularity and strong Colorado following, said John Waldman, owner of Great Knight Productions.

"Leftover has a wide demographic of locals and tourists," Waldman said. "We looked at what acts were available and found that they had good name recognition and good energy for a fun evening of street events."

Leftover Salmon, the six-member ensemble, has created its own bluegrass sound with a variety of ethnic influences and a boogie style, including country, Cajun and Southern rock. A mandolin, Hammond organ, banjo and piano accompany typical sounds that change an average-sounding band into an ethnic entourage of life and spice.

"We're just American guys playing American music," said Vince Herman, vocalist and acoustic guitar player for Leftover Salmon.

Halliday said getting Leftover Salmon to perform the day before the nordic event will help increase community involvement and energy. The opportunity to get more involvement has been a community-wide effort, she said.

"We're really lucky to get a band like (Leftover Salmon). There's really a large Steamboat following," said Halliday, opening ceremony events coordinator. "I think it's going to work out great."

Herman, who started the Salmon Heads, merged with Mark Vann and Drew Emmitt of Left-Hand String "purely by accident" in 1990 to form one of the leading festival bands in Bluegrass, Leftover Salmon.

The band recently added three new members who have added their own style to expand the sounds and horizons of Leftover Salmon. The sound is much bigger and the keyboards add texture to the band, Herman said.

"We're tilting a bit toward rock 'n' roll, but we're certainly not pigeon-holed in any way, shape or form," Herman said. "We just let (our music) go wherever it goes."

Herman said when the band was getting started they played in ski towns all over Colorado. With a small Caribbean influence and tunes from the 1800s, Herman said people were slam dancing because the energy was so high.

For any fan of the athletes performing in the three-day event, an autograph session will be held at the Lowell-Whiteman School across from Oak Street from 6:15 to 7:15 p.m. Halliday said she encourages those who attend to walk or ride the bus and asks that people leave their dogs at home.

"This is the first free concert in the winter that's outdoors," Halliday said. "If weather permits, we should have a good crowd."

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