The promoters of the Suwannee Roots Revival wisely brought polyethnic Cajun slamgrass pioneers Leftover Salmon in to close out the first two nights of the festival, Thursday and Friday, October14th and 15th. They knew, in their music loving heart of hearts, that if anyone could make Roots’ return memorable it was Vince Herman and company.
Herman, alongside his musical life partner Drew Emmitt on mandolin, guitar and fiddle, has been turning gatherings into parties for thirty years now, give or take, and has had some life-affirming appearances at the Spirit Of The Suwannee over the decades.
After having to cancel last years event—and due to the overall depleted festival schedule of the last year and a half—it was crucial to have a sure-fire crowd-pleaser on the bill. Luckily, Leftover Salmon, with stalwarts like banjo master Andy Thorn and the rhythm section of the multi-faceted Alwyn Robinson on drums and the gregarious Glen Garrison on bass, has the range to follow the founding duo along any musical path—no matter how esoteric.
Joining them for their fall run on keyboards and the drop steel guitar is noted Roots artist Jay Starling. Besides Starling’s stellar vocal and instrumental work, Herman gave him the title of “top tennis player on the bluegrass circuit,” so he’s got that going for him as well!
It wouldn’t be a Leftover Salmon Party without a few guests. On Thursday Sam Bush came out close out day one. For the band’s Friday late-night members of the Steep Canyon Rangers and Ralph Roddenberry added some extra ingredients to the musical stew being simmered up onstage. Even unofficial band mascot Mayor McCheese made a couple appearances in the crowd and onstage for good measure. Thanks to our own Rex Thomson we have three choice video highlights from Friday night to share with you.
First up Leftover Salmon paid fair tribute to Suwannee’s beloved lost pillar, the late Col. Bruce Hampton, with an epic, 20-minute “Astral Traveler.” Following that bit of psychedelic oddity, there’s a raucous, joyful take on “Maud Only Knows” with a hilarious sit-in from singer songwriter Ralph Roddenberry that truly needs to be seen to be appreciated. Finally, as they’ve done so many times before Salmon left the crowd begging for more by exiting with their sing-a-long classic “Wake & Bake (Rise Up!)” as their encore.
Check out the fun below! For a full list of upcoming Leftover Salmon tour dates, head here.
Leftover Salmon – “Astral Traveler” – Suwannee Roots Reunion 2021
Leftover Salmon ft. Ralph Roddenberry – “Maud Only Knows” – Suwannee Roots Reunion 2021
Leftover Salmon – “Rise Up Wake & Bake” – Suwannee Roots Reunion 2021