Where ya been? Putting faces to tunes at last

You know how there are some bands whose names just seem to pop up consistently every few years? Sometimes a band can be elusive. Maybe you showed up late to a festival and just missed their set, or you walked into a room when the CD was ending. Somehow you have just never gotten a chance to sample their music. Maybe it wasn't the right time, or maybe you have bad timing. Who knows? Sometimes that's just the way the cards fall.

Leftover Salmon was one of those bands for me. Yeah, I've heard the name a hundred times. All those times, the mention has been followed by raving about the band's sound and energy.

When I read that LoS was coming to Starr Hill, I finally had to put a sound and image to the name that I had been hearing. When I arrived at the show, it wasn't long before I knew why these Colorado pickers have risen to the top rungs of the progressive bluegrass world.

The buzz about the room focused on the addition of a new banjo player to the line-up. The original member, Mark Vann, died of cancer. Apparently, this young blood had some pretty big shoes to fill. From where I stood, and judging by the audience response, he seemed to be doing an adequate job adding his own flavor to LoS's formula.

The crowd was very receptive, boasting a higher percentage of people dancing and engrossed in the music than many shows I have been to of late. Things really got shook up when David Lowery of Cracker joined the band on stage. I couldn't help but make stupid jokes in my head about the flavorful possibilities of Cracker and Leftover Salmon collaborating with String Cheese Incident. The only thing missing would be wine and really shitty contemporary art... but I digress.

LoS reinterpreted classic Cracker tunes into some serious rootsy funk. I liked some of the remixes better than the originals. Lowery's user-friendly lyrics turned the night into a singalong. As the energy raged and the virtuosity of the musicians on stage continued to blow me away, I couldn't help but think to myself: Where the hell have I been for the last seven years these guys have been tearing it up?!