Leftover Salmon performed at The Bluebird in Bloomington, IN last Friday, February 3rd. They played the town for a variety of reasons, but the biggest was their desire to provide a welcome distraction to the IU students toiling away and facing the cold winter. To help make sure the night was as fun for them as it was for the crowd, the band packed the set list with rollicking covers from legends like the Grateful Dead, Neil Young, Cab Calloway and… Afroman? It’s safe to say Leftover Salmon was offering the college student heavy crowd some advice on dealing with the stress of the upcoming mid-terms with those last two entries.

Our own Rex Thomson was on hand to catch the fun and has put together this compilation of covers from the show to spread Leftover’s mischievous energies to all those in need of a smile in these, as Vince Herman put it best, “Strange, strange times!” Enjoy!

First up was the show opener. Since this was their first show since the inauguration Salmon felt the need to at least acknowledge the transition, though, as they said, enough words had already been wasted on the subject. To help express their feelings without going on a rant, the band simply let the words of the Grateful Dead classic “U.S. Blues” do their talking for them.

From one sixties legend to the next, Drew Emmitt took over the lead and brought his sweet voice to “Tangled Up In Blue,” showing how much different a song can be from artist to artist. Replacing Dylan’s infamously workman like voice with his far smoother falsetto made for an interesting rendition of the seminal classic. Give a listen to the track below:

With Leftover Salmon’s upcoming Wanee Music Festival appearance looming, the band is exercising their Neil Young muscles in preparation for their tribute set covering Young’s legendary Harvest album. Their take on the feud launching “Alabama” is below:

Though we are focusing on Leftover Salmon’s covers from their Bloomington show, since they seamlessly flowed from a joyful, crowd pleasing version of “Mama Boulet” before keeping the Louisiana flavor going with “When The Levee Breaks” by Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie, it seemed a shame to separate the two songs. Enjoy both below.

As mentioned earlier, Leftover Salmon had a special message for the hard at work college students in the crowd about the proper way to relieve their stress about the insane amount of work hanging over their heads. No special decoder rings were required however, as Cab Calloway‘s “Reefer Man” and Afroman‘s “Because I Got High” were such obvious hints from the Colorado based band that even the most oblivious folks in the audience caught on. Give a listen to the two-fer below.

To close out the main part of the show Leftover had one last blast from a past master in them for the crowd, a special homage to the founder of jam grass himself, John Hartford. Vince Herman and company have made frequent appearances at the nearby John Hartford Memorial Festival and as such the crowd was happy to have a preview of the fun to come at this year’s edition of the festival coming in June. Their set closing take on “Get No Better” is below.

With the show wrapped up the band took the time to leave the stage and come out and mingle with the remaining fans, posing for pictures and sharing hugs and hopes for the future with folks still concerned about the future in these uncertain times. While there are several valid reasons for concern there is one sure thing, Leftover Salmon will always be a force for hope and a source of silliness for those in need of a rug to cut and a smile on their face!