Formed in 1989 in Boulder by Vince Herman, Drew Emmitt and Mark Vann, they're best known for fusing bluegrass, Cajun/zydeco, county and rock. Over the years, many bandmates have come and gone, including Vann, who died of cancer in 2002. These days, Leftover Salmon consists of vocalists/pickers Herman, Emmitt and Andy Thorn, as well as bassist Greg Garrison, drummer Alwyn Robinson and recent addition, keyboardist Bill Payne (who's best known for his work with Little Feat).
Thanks to the lyric, "Fresh from the garden, it's all homegrown," the funky "Home Cookin'" is one of High Country's highlights. It's of reminiscent Booker T & the M.G.'s "Green Onions."
On the banjo-filled, rollicking title track, the band sings, "I want to be in a high country/ High Country all day."
Another peak is "Bluegrass Pines," co-written by Payne and Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter. The song's chorus mentions Willie Nelson's "Whiskey River" as they sing, "Whiskey River in the bluegrass pines."
"Six Feet of Snow" is one of two cover songs on the album. Originally a Little Feat tune, Salmon speed it up a bit, give it a Ricky Skaggs "Highway 40 Blues" feel. Alison Krause's "Two Highways," which features great harmonies and picking, is the other. The album ends with the Calypso number, "Finish Your Beer"; it's like something Jimmy Buffett would sing.
Leftover Salmon are currently on tour; they'll be at the Visulite Theatre in Charlotte, NC on Apr. 20.