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Leftover Salmon (from the album Grass Roots available on Compass Records) (By Lee Zimmerman)
Despite an occasional attempt to conveying a somewhat irreverent attitude, Leftover Salmon’s appreciation for sounds of a vintage variety has never strayed far from the surface. However particular their approach, they’re still grounded in a traditional template that freely allows them to veer off and share a sound honed from their own particular perspective.
Consequently, their new album, aptly titled Grass Roots, finds them paying tribute to various archival offerings, while putting enough of a different spin on each to reflect an individual approach. Contributions from special guests Billy Strings, Oliver Wood, and Darol Anger add an intriguing element to certain songs, but the reverence and respect is still evident throughout. So too, while the songs as a whole hold to their Nu-Grass conceits, the fact that they pay homage to certain heroes keeps the continuity intact.
Granted, there’s nothing especially unique when it comes to tapping the music of Bob Dylan, Grateful Dead, or, to a certain extent, even David Bromberg or Link Wray. After all, the influence of those iconic artists is firmly embossed in the continuing musical mainstream. Yet the fact that Leftover Salmon are inclined to tackle these tunes while putting their own stamp on the proceedings reflects the fact that imagination and ingenuity are still the core of their intents.
That said, certain songs — “Country Blue”, “Blue Railroad Train”, “California Cottonfields”, and “Fireline” in particular — stay totally true to Bluegrass basics. This is, after all, a band that can consistently shine in those environs. On the other hand, inspired interpretations of Dylan’s “Simple Twist of Fate”, the Dead’s “Black Peter”, and Bromberg’s “The New Lee Highway Blues”, offer interesting interpretations of the core material in ways that reflect the virtuosity and vitality the band is known for. At the same time, a take on “Nashville Skyline Rag” hews close to the spirit of the original instrumental by bringing it even closer to the sound that Dylan likely had intended. At the same time, one might be extremely hard pressed to recognize the song “Fire and Brimstone” as a Link Wray original.
The ability to retain reverence for their roots and keep contemporary credence is what makes Leftover Salmon such an intriguing entity. In that regard, Grass Roots represents a decidedly fresh serving of Leftover Salmon. (by Lee Zimmerman)
Listen and buy the music of Leftover Salmon from AMAZON
Please go to the Leftover Salmon website for more purchase and artist information
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