Railroad Earth: For over two decades, Railroad Earth has captivated audiences with gleefully unpredictable live shows and eloquent and elevated studio output. The group introduced its signature sound on 2001’s The Black Bear Sessions. Between selling out hallowed venues such as Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, CO, they’ve launched the longstanding annual Hangtown Music Festival in Placerville, CA and Hillberry: The Harvest Moon Festival in Ozark, AR—both running for a decade-plus. Sought after by legends, the John Denver Estate tapped them to put lyrics penned by the late John Denver to music on the 2019 vinyl EP, Railroad Earth: The John Denver Letters. Beyond tallying tens of millions of streams, the collective have earned widespread critical acclaim from David Fricke of Rolling Stone, American Songwriter, Glide Magazine, and NPR who assured, “Well-versed in rambling around, as you might expect from a band named after a Jack Kerouac poem, the New Jersey-built jam-grass engine Railroad Earth has let no moss grow under its rustic wheels.”
Yonder Mountain String Band: Innovative and exuberant, controversial and uncompromising, Yonder Mountain String Band spearheaded a musical movement in Colorado and carried its new language of progressive roots music to countless fans worldwide in a 25-year career that shows no signs of slowing down.
With one foot in the bluegrass world and the other in the jam-band world, the band has weathered the scrutiny of the bluegrass establishment and come full circle with a Grammy Nomination for Best Bluegrass Album for their 2022 release, Get Yourself Outside, co-written by founding members Adam Aijala (guitar), Ben Kaufmann (bass), Dave Johnston (banjo) and newest member, Nick Piccininni (mandolin, fiddle, banjo), who joined the band in early 2020.
Artistic collaboration and musical discovery are a thick thread of inspiration and ambition within Yonder Mountain and in recent years, the band has tapped into an energy, reminiscent of the early years, when they changed the bluegrass landscape.
No one band can be said to have invented jam-grass, but the movement and sound – the most commercially successful vein of bluegrass music over the past 25 years wouldn’t exist as it does today without them.
Leftover Salmon: Few bands stick around for thirty years. Even fewer bands leave a legacy during that time that marks them as a truly special, once-in-lifetime type band. And no band has done all that and had as much fun as Leftover Salmon. Since their earliest days as a forward thinking, progressive bluegrass band who had the guts to add drums to the mix and who was unafraid to stir in any number of highly combustible styles into their ever evolving sound, to their role as a pioneer of the modern jamband scene, to their current status as elder-statesmen of the scene who cast a huge influential shadow over every festival they play, Leftover Salmon has been a crucial link in keeping alive the traditional music of the past while at the same time pushing that sound forward with their own weirdly, unique style.
In their fourth decade as a band, Leftover Salmon is showing no signs of slowing down, continuing to create new music in the studio, including the most recent release Brand New Good Old Days (Compass Records 2021). The latest album shows that Leftover Salmon is still proving it possible to recreate themselves without changing who they are. The band now features a lineup that has been together longer than any other in Salmon history and is one of the strongest the legendary band has ever assembled. Built around the core of founding members Drew Emmitt and Vince Herman, the band is now powered by banjo-wiz Andy Thorn, and driven by the steady rhythm section of bassist Greg Garrison, drummer Alwyn Robinson, and dobro player & keyboardist Jay Starling. The current lineup is continuing the long, storied history of Salmon which found them first emerging from the progressive bluegrass world and coming of age as one the original jam bands, before rising to become architects of what has become known as Jamgrass and helping to create a landscape where bands schooled in the traditional rules of bluegrass can break free of those bonds through nontraditional instrumentation and an innate ability to push songs in new psychedelic directions live. Salmon is a band who for more than thirty years has never stood still; they are constantly changing, evolving, and inspiring. If someone wanted to understand what Americana music is they could do no better than to go to a Leftover Salmon show, where they effortlessly glide from a bluegrass number born on the front porch, to the down-and-dirty Cajun swamps with a stop on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, to the hallowed halls of the Ryman in Nashville, before firing one up in the mountains of Colorado.
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