led by Drew Emmitt will create a once in a lifetime collaboration among five of the shreddiest bluegrass and jamgrass musicians in Colorado. The Allstars include: Drew Emmitt on mandolin (Leftover Salmon), Adam Aijala on guitar (Yonder Mountain String Band), Andy Thorn on banjo (Leftover Salmon), Greg Garrison on bass (Leftover Salmon) and Coleman Smith on fiddle (RapidGrass).
Revered as one of the most energetic and innovative mandolin players on the jamband/newgrass scene today, Drew Emmitt’s “inestimable talents” (An Honest Tune) don’t end with just the instruments that can be picked. Holding the wheel steady on acoustic and electric slide mandolin, acoustic and electric guitar and mandola, Emmitt’s superlative storytelling and versatile vocal abilities are incomparable. Following a decade of success with Leftover Salmon, Emmitt released his first solo effort, Freedom Ride, drawing on the talent of peers John Cowan, Peter Rowan, Sam Bush, Ronnie McCoury, Vassar Clements, Stuart Duncan and Randy Scruggs. Critics and fans loved the collaboration and Emmitt relished the chance to record with some of the giants with whom he’d shared festival stages. “It's amazing,” he said, “it's like walking in a dream….Standing on stage next to Sam (Bush) is pretty indescribable.” After touring as the Emmitt-Nershi band with Billy Nershi of The String Cheese Incident for the past few years and making several reunion appearances with Leftover Salmon, Drew Emmitt's solo work is rejuvenated and once again taking the contemporary, live gig, fresh every-time approach to bluegrass music.
Following a decade of success with Leftover Salmon, Emmitt released his first solo effort, Freedom Ride, in 2002 drawing on the talent of peers John Cowan, Peter Rowan, Sam Bush, Ronnie McCoury, Vassar Clements, Stuart Duncan and Randy Scruggs. Critics and fans loved the collaboration and Emmitt relished the chance to record with some of the giants with whom he’d shared festival stages. “It's amazing,” he said, “it's like walking in a dream….Standing on stage next to Sam (Bush) is pretty indescribable.” In 2005 he followed up with Across The Bridge, an equally impressive effort showcasing Emmitt’s bluegrass chops and songwriting talents as a straight-ahead bluegrass man. After touring as the Emmitt-Nershi band with Billy Nershi of The String Cheese Incident for the past year and making several reunion appearances with Leftover Salmon, Long Road finds Emmitt rejuvenated and once again taking the contemporary, live gig, fresh every-time approach to bluegrass music.
It’s possible that by now you know I play guitar with Yonder Mountain and it’s what I’ve been doing since the band’s inception in 1998. But I’ll bet you didn’t know that as of of July 2015 all my years in Yonder is equal to all of my years of education. That’s Kindergarten through 12th grade and 4 years of college. I started playing guitar in 1986 which is 2 years before Jake Jolliff was born. I feel old, but not really. I was mostly interested in what Greg Ginn of Black Flag was doing at that time, but a few more years into it I found myself learning Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page licks in addition to Metallica riffs. It was around that time my good buddy introduced me to the Grateful Dead and their accompanying medicinal herbs. I took a sharp, but very mellow left turn into Folk music including Bob Dylan, Neil Young and eventually, Old & In The Way. Bluegrass charged me in the way Hardcore and Punk did, particularly on the fast songs. I recall a friend giving me a mix tape my senior year at UMass that included some Doc Watson and Norman Blake. As much as I loved what those guys were doing on the guitar, I was drawn to Jerry’s banjo playing from Old & In The Way and so I bought a banjo at a pawn shop. In 1996 I attended RockyGrass in Lyons, CO and saw Scott Nygaard when he was a part of Tim O’Brien and the O’Boys. This was the first time I’d ever really seen anyone flatpick and realized I had a new goal to work towards. In the spring of 1997 I saw the David Grisman Quintet at the Warfield in San Francisco and bought the first self-titled album which features Tony Rice on guitar. I was hooked. When I think back to when I was 13, I never in a million years could I have predicted my future. From Punk Rock to Bluegrass? You’re damn right. And I couldn’t be happier to share the stage with my fellow bandmates. I love what I do and will never take it for granted. Thanks for listening and see you out there.
Since being drafted from the Emmitt-Nershi Band to join Leftover Salmon, Andy Thorn’s powerful, driving, banjo picking has helped carry the band to new heights. Despite his young age, the North Carolina native brings a wealth of experience to the banjo seat in Leftover Salmon. Thorn first began playing banjo at age 12 after purchasing one at his neighbor's yard sale and has not stopped picking since. After high school Thorn moved onto the University of North Carolina where he earned a degree in Jazz Guitar and played in seminal local band Big Fat Gap, which has a long history of graduating players into bigger bands.
From there he moved to Colorado and joined The Broke Mountain Bluegrass Band, which included Anders Beck from Greensky Bluegrass and Travis Book from The Infamous Stringdusters in its lineup. The band was only around for a brief time, but they won the 2003 RockyGrass Bluegrass Festival Band Contest. That same year Thorn won the RockyGrass banjo contest. Despite the wave of attention that followed, the band soon broke up as they all begin to move onto other bands. Thorn moved back to the East Coast and joined flatpicking legend Larry Keel’s band. His time with Keel was brief as he was then recruited to fill the empty banjo spot in the Emmitt-Nershi Band, which led to him to officially joining Leftover Salmon in 2011.
Dr. Greg Garrison – as he is often referred to onstage due to his Doctor of Music Arts degree in jazz studies – is the epitome of what a bass player should be; steady, reliable, and rock solid. The uniquely skilled bassist is equally adept at a wide range of styles including rock, bluegrass, and jazz. Since graduating from the University of Illinois and moving to Colorado to continue his schooling, those talents have been on display in a number of settings, including playing with funk provocateurs The Motet, jazz trumpeter Ron Miles, bluegrass legends Sam Bush, Del McCoury and Vassar Clements, jazz guitarists Bill Frisell and John Scofield, and being a founding member of the critically acclaimed Punch Brothers.
This ability to play across genres has proven advantageous when playing with Leftover Salmon and their wide-ranging influences, as he can easily glide from style to style while holding down the bottom end. Garrison is the longest tenured member of the band (after founders Emmitt and Herman) serving as the engine that powers Leftover Salmon since joining in 2000.
Coleman started playing the violin at 3 years old. In his youth Coleman traveled across the country studying various styles of fiddle music and competing in some of the nation's most prestigious fiddle contests. Coleman was awarded a Presidential scholarship to the music department at Marywood University where he studied music performance and minored in music pedagogy. Coleman has a unique style that fuses Gypsy Swing, Jazz, Celtic, Bluegrass and Texas Fiddle, all from a classical perspective. Currently, Coleman travels the world, including an annual tour with Rapidgrass throughout Europe where he both performs and leads workshops for Europe’s largest bluegrass festival. When Coleman is not performing with Rapidgrass he is either teaching at his music school Coletrain Music Academy, performing with his side project, Gypsy Cattle Drive, or guest appearing with a wide variety of popular bands including but not limited to The Drew Emmit Band, David Grisman, Billy Cardine, Jeff Austin Band, Peter Rowan, Pete Wernick, and Pheobe Hunt & The Gatherers. [READ MORE]