Leftover Salmon

Live

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What a difference just a couple of years can make. Back in 1999, Leftover Salmon sounded ready to assume its rightful place in a progressive bluegrass stream overflowing with a new generation of jam bands. Perhaps they were finally settling down. But with the exception of a lively version of the late John Hartford's "Steam Powered Aereoplane" (on which the band is joined by former New Grass Revival vocalist John Cowan), "Out in the Woods," and "Get Me Outta This City," this energetic live set finds these tie-dyed Colorado sons just as willing to flop in any number of new, unexpected directions. Of course, that's how the band's live shows have always worked, so it will come as little surprise to longtime fans. The band's relatively new rhythm section -- Jose Martinez (drums), Greg Garrison (bass), and Bill McKay (keyboards) -- sounds as comfortable playing New Orleans R&B and blues-based boogie as working through an extended psychedelic jam like "Dark Green Thing." One thing that doesn't seem to have changed is this band's sense of fun. If Leftover Salmon and its fans share any kind of philosophy beyond the band's patented "polyethnic Cajun slamgrass" aesthetic, it's that anything goes. Or that anything would go, in a perfect world. This openness has helped make the band a popular draw on the jam band touring circuit, and it goes a long way toward making Live the best introduction yet to the band's unique sound and sensibilities. The enhanced portion of the CD includes a video for the opening track, "Let's Give a Party," filmed in June 2001 at the band's Salmonfest in Lesterville, MO, where most of the album was also recorded. On a sad note, 39-year-old banjo player and vocalist Mark Vann succumbed to cancer just two months prior to this album's release.

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