Colorado jam-grass legends Leftover Salmon will perform in Steamboat Springs after a lengthy hiatus following a return to recording and the road. The free show at the base of Steamboat Ski Area on closing day Sunday features bluegrass band Head for the Hills opening at 2:30 p.m.
Leftover Salmon returns to Steamboat Springs after 8-year hiatus
Steamboat Springs Leftover Salmon last played Steamboat Springs more than eight years ago at a mountain nightclub, just a week before the band called it quits after 15 years together.
The nightclub Levelz is no more, but Salmon has been resurrected.
The reunited band will play a free show at the base of Steamboat Ski Area to close out the 50th anniversary ski season.
And Steamboat hasn’t forgotten them.
A 1997 show at the Inferno has been immortalized on www.archive.org, and Salmon members have been no strangers to Ski Town USA, playing with side projects Drew Emimtt Band, Mill McKay band, Great American Taxi and more.
Now, mandolin player Drew Emmitt said they’re looking forward to coming back in full force as Leftover Salmon.
“It’s been too long,” he said in an interview with Explore Steamboat.
Now, with two newly recorded albums as Leftover Salmon, the Colorado-born, jam-grass band is back at it in a big way with national tours and festival stops.
Call it a needed break or call it giving Salmon time to mature, Emmitt said.
“It’s not like when you're first touring and it’s this amazing thing that’s really exciting,” he said. “It’s more like, this is something we know how to do, and it’s fun, but it’s also a job, and we can be really serious about it.
“I think we’ve maybe learned how to pace ourselves, maybe out of necessity, a little more.”
“Aquatic Hitchhiker,” released in May, marked the band’s return, and Emmitt said recent studio time yielded enough new material for another forthcoming release.
Emmitt said the band’s resurgence is energized by a host of fans, new and old, who are attracted to the eclectic blend of improvisational rock, bluegrass, Americana and zydeco.
“There’s all this new blood coming,” he said. “We’re really fortunate that way. We have a very varied crowd.”
Emmitt’s first memories of playing as Leftover Salmon in Steamboat still are with him today, and a lot of those fans probably still are around, as well. He said they used to play weeklong runs at the Inferno.
“Five days of playing, and we’d do happy hours and stay at the Meadowlark,” he said. “We didn’t care. We were young, and we were so psyched to be playing in ski towns. That was our initial Steamboat experience.”
Salmon’s Closing Day show starts at 4 p.m., but right after the Splashdown Pond Skim, another jam-grass band takes the stage. Fort Collins’ Head for the Hills also is on the national radar, playing a fusion of progressive bluegrass with elements of reggae, hip-hop and jazz.