By Phil Santala
Leftover Salmon isn't just a band they are an experience. Call it what you want - new grass, progressive bluegrass, slam grass, "polyethnic cajun slamgrass" or even just the best time you can have in bare feet. Leftover Salmon has been called all those things and more. Years in Your Ears is a documentary that captures a time not long ago when these forefathers of today's "jam-grass" scene roamed the earth, promoting their festival attitude, inspiring groups like The String Cheese Incident and Yonder Mountain String Band, and helping make the Colorado music scene what it is today.
The DVD explores the attitudes and influences that made Salmon what they are. It examines the controlled chaos that was and is Leftover Salmon, and their connection to both bluegrass music and their fans. Time and time again, Vince Herman and Mark Vann held audiences in the palm of their hands. The DVD does a great job weaving anecdotes about the band with clips of Salmon in action from their earliest days to their glorious end run. Leftover's signature jams accompany some amazing still photos, including a touching one of a young John Bell and Mikey Houser (Widespread) jamming with them.
The interviews are plentiful and insightful, and include SCI's Michael Kang and Bill Nershi, Yonder's Jeff Austin, Dave Johnston and Ben Kaufman, as well Sam Bush and Little Feat's Bill Payne and Paul Barrere. Music highlights include: "Pasta On the Mountain," "Carnival Time," "Voodoo Queen Marie," "Dance On Your Head," "Bend in the River" and an epic "Gonna Have A Party" montage.
Banjo player Mark Vann's passing is discussed in a beautiful way, shining a light on the joy his life and playing brought to all those around him. I was anxious to see how Years in Your Ears would approach this delicate subject, and was delighted they did so with such humor and class.
Bonus features include rare music tracks and interviews with Vince Herman and Drew Emmitt. Thanks in large part to the lower energy required to run digital equipment and a personal dedication to the environment, producer Eric Abramson was able craft this DVD from largely renewable energy resources including wind and solar energy - a personal dedication to the planet that should make any Salmon head proud.
This DVD hits the market just in time for fans wishing to reacquaint themselves with Leftover before the summer concert season is upon us. This year will be a hallmark year for Leftover Salmon fans as it marks their return to the stage when it seemed unclear if this would ever happen again. Their shows are some of the most memorable fun one can have and this DVD captures that glorious feeling eloquently.
To purchase Years in Your Ears click here.
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