Puremusic Interview with
Drew Emmitt

by Frank Goodman

In the early nineties, Vince Herman's Salmon Heads and Drew Emmitt's Left Hand String Band merged to become one of the most popular bands on either the Bluegrass or the Jam Band circuit, Leftover Salmon.

They belong to both scenes and are mainstays in festival world on a national level. LoS are among the cream of the crop of renegade bluegrass virtuosos of the generation after Newgrass Revival. They call their music Polytechnic Cajun Slamgrass, that oughta give you an idea what they're about. They take their chops seriously, but that's about it.

Their legendary banjo player Mark Vann passed away this year after a battle with melanoma, but the band eventually resumed its busy touring schedule, and will be hitting the festival circuit hard all spring and summer. Led by multi-instrumentalist and excellent tenor Drew Emmitt on mandolin, fiddle, and electric guitar, and the lyrically improvisational lead singing of Vince Herman. They are equally fueled by the seasoned vocals and keyboard work of Bill McKay, and the nonpareil rhythm section of Greg Garrison on bass and Jose Martinez on drums.

Their fifth and live album is soon due to be released by Compass Records, the group's first release with this label. Compass is already experiencing success with the recent release of Drew Emmitt's first solo record, Freedom Ride. On this record, Drew is backed up by the formidable John Cowan Band and a handful of famous friends. We spoke with Drew about his maiden solo voyage on the phone recently, he was at his Colorado mountain home getting ready to leave on tour. During or after the interview, please be sure to check out some Freedom Ride clips on our Listen page, and watch for Drew Emmitt or Leftover Salmon this summer.   continue to interview