Words by Corinne Casella | Photos by Jeremy Gordon
On Thursday Feburary 13th at City Vineyard, Vince Herman and Drew Emmitt, of Leftover Salmon, treated fans to an evening of remembrance, camaraderie and exceptional musicianship. Celebrating 30 years of music, the duo is currently taking a well-deserved ‘victory lap,’ with a stripped down tour that sounds anything but. Set amidst the stunning backdrop of City Vineyard, the duo played a strong mix of favorites spanning their illustrious career. A show that felt more like a conversation between friends, honed and perfected over time. A love letter to both their history and their fans.
Herman started off the night waxing nostalgic on the seminal duo’s humble beginnings. “Thirty years of playing ‘slamgrass music’ all because the guy at the door said it was blues-rock and we didn’t agree.” With their magical mix of melodic picking and honeyed voices, the duo took the audience on an epic journey. Emmitt, switch hitting between mandolin and fiddle, showcased his mighty picking skills. While Herman delivered his signature uptempo stylings and dulcent tones. The set included a strong collection of favorites, including ‘Liza,’ “Show Me Something Higher,’ Breakin’ Thru,’ and ‘Brand New Good Old Days.’
“This is probably the smallest stage we’ve ever been on,” laughed Emmitt. Small but mighty, as the duo played their hearts out on their trademark blend of bluegrass, cajun, zydeco and calypso. Half-way through the set, Herman and Emmitt invited a few guests to sit-in, including Leftover Salmon drummer Alwyn Robinson and Grammy-nominated guitarist Scott Sharrard. Slated by Billboard Magazine as “one of the best guitarists in the country,” Sharrard let his frenetic fingers fly on a boisterous cover of Jimmy Reed’s ‘Big Boss Man’ and Little Feat’s ‘A Apolitcal Blues.’ Sharrard, known for his time with the Gregg Allman band, has most recently joined Little Feat, replacing the late great Paul Barrere. “It’s a mixed blessing. I started off just filling in for Paul, I guess I’m staying around. Little Feat is my favorite band of all time, not a job I’m taking lightly.”
With Robinson adding his considerable chops and surprisingly soulful voice, the quartet created that unique sorcery good live music can evoke. For hardcore music fans, there is nothing better than watching talented musicians on stage enjoying themselves. There is a certain synergy that cannot be faked. A ‘conversation’ that transcends mere collaboration. Just a little talk between friends, where they let their instruments convey more than mere words ever could.
A few notable covers sprinkled the set list including a spirited take on Bob Dylan’s ‘Meet Me in the Morning,’ and a beautiful rendition of John Hartford’s ‘In Tall Buildings,’ a bittersweet ode to the working man. A befitting choice, silhouetted by the glittering lights of the Hudson’s massive skyline in the background. However, not ones to leave on a sad note, the duo joined by Robinson, rounded out the night with a rousing rendition of ‘Bend In The River.’ The night was a lesson in living in the moment. “It’s never more now than it is today, these are the brand new old good old days…”
TheWaster.com | NY