A veritable who’s who of the bluegrass and jam community will be gathering in Colorado and New York this week to benefit and celebrate the music of Leftover Salmon. Mark Vann, banjoist and founding member of Leftover Salmon, was recently diagnosed with melanoma, and proceeds from the all-star events will be directed to the artist’s medical bills and treatment. The Colorado concerts are set to take place November 14th and 15th at Boulder’s Fox Theatre, and November 17th at Denver’s Fillmore Auditorium. The benefit will also travel to the Aggie Theater in Ft. Collins for a date on November 16th. New York's event will take place on Sunday, November 18th at B.B. King Blues Club.
Long time friends, supporters, and even a few of the band’s musical heroes have gladly donated their time and artistry to support Vann and the Leftover family. Those scheduled to appear over the four nights in Colorado include Bela Fleck, Todd Park Mohr, Sam Bush, Michael Kang and Billy Nershi of the String Cheese Incident, Bill Payne and Paul Barrere of Little Feat, Pete “Dr. Banjo” Wernick, Sally Van Meter, and Tony Furtado, among others.
“Like so many other things we’ve done in Leftover Salmon we look at how we can have the most fun in the situations we’ve been placed in at the time,” says the band’s singer and guitarist Vince Herman. While the evenings are sure to be filled with the spontaneity, surprises, and freewheeling energy audiences have come to expect over the band’s decade of playing, Herman can tell fans what not to expect. “The one thing I have figured out is it ain’t the Last Waltz,” he says, and adds with a laugh, “it won’t be like an awards ceremony.”
The Leftover Salmon family and organization realized a quick response was necessary when discussions of a benefit became more concrete. Says Herman, “A lot of people just called up and said they wanted to come. We’ve just been deliriously happy about the response we’ve been getting, kind of without even asking.” Confirms Little Feat’s Bill Payne, “I said whatever you want me and Paul Barrere to do, we’ll be there.” For Bela Fleck, who played on the band’s 1999 release, The Nashville Sessions it was important to lend support. “This is a really tough situation and you say ‘what can I do?’ Well [appearing] is something I can do. An opportunity for us to get together and show support for Mark is really positive.”
In addition to the out of town guests, many of Colorado’s favorite home grown artists will feel comfortable playing with the band who has opened their stage so many times before. Banjo player and multi-instrumentalist Tony Furtado sees the events as “an obvious need for us all to get together and help out a good friend.” Dobro player Sally Van Meter shares, “A huge amount of this really comes down to family. [Leftover Salmon] is so loved.”
While the impetus for the events is a sad one, fans and the artists alike are looking forward to four nights of music that will celebrate the spirit of Mark Vann and Leftover Salmon’s unique and unparalleled brand of bluegrass fusion. “It means a whole lot to be going through what I’m going through and to have all this kind of support and people pulling for me,” says Vann. “I’m really humbled and appreciative of these guys coming out to do this. They’re people I’ve admired my entire musical life and they’re coming to play for me.”
Tickets for these events are available at Leftover Salmon Tickets!
As the music world converges to lend support to Mark Vann, the east coast has put together a Jammin' For Salmon benefit on Sunday Nov 18th, at B.B. King Blues Club.
The all-star collaboration will include Mike Gordon of Phish, John Medeski of MMW, EL BUHO (Zambiland Orchestra, Jazz Studio Musician), Scott Murawski (Max Creek), Aaron Johnston (Jazz Is Dead, Tony Furtado, Commotion), DJ Logic, The Motet, members of Deep Banana Blackout, members of Railroad Earth, Josh Dodes Band, Scrappy Hamilton and very special guests to be annonced. For more information go to Mark Vann Benefit.
Tickets for the Jam For Salmon are available at JamBaseTickets.