Interview: Greg Garrison of Leftover Salmon

While you all are drinking well with family and friends, I thought I would offer some musical magic to go along with it. Leftover Salmon (LoS) are those guys who play great music no matter what is going on. With a focus on strings, this Colorado crew has been non-stop members of the music space ranging from bluegrass and folksy rock madness. Leftover Salmon is currently made up of musicians that include Vince Herman, Drew Emmitt, Greg Garrison, Andy Thorn, Alwyn Robinson and Bill Payne. Greg on bass took some time to share his simple take on his music world.

When asked about how music has stayed in his life, his reply was modest. “Well, you’ve gotta pay the bills somehow… None of us are qualified to perform angioplasty, except for Vince. I like music. I wish it paid better.” I laughed out loud at the angioplasty reference and was impressed with his honesty here. Hopefully, the money will flow better down the line.

As for Greg’s proudest work, it took him a moment. “Hmmm…I think we’re all pretty proud of the last couple of studio records, ‘Aquatic Hitchhiker’ and ‘High Country.’ We also enjoyed doing the Nashville Sessions 15 year reunion show at the Ryman last year.” Good choices all right there.

My favorite song of Leftover Salmon’s is Baby Hold On. The banjo jumps right in to start us all off followed by the rest of the rocking bluegrass to follow. A chorus comes up right behind and puts the porch singing crew front and center. I can picture people tapping their feet on this Labor Day weekend to this tune especially during the piano key plucking that has a smooth groove within. Drink that whiskey and dance! Baby Hold On is one of those songs that best capture the essence of Leftover Salmon’s drive and sound. I love the strings in this and can’t help but sway my head back and forth with my eyes closed while snapping my fingers to it all. It really is a simply wonderful tune.

Ideal concerts are rare for Mr. Garrison. “I don’t know if any performance ever winds up being ideal…but Telluride is always fun. Jackson Browne sat in with us there a couple of years back, and that was pretty special.” You have got to love an appearance by Jackson Browne, what a treat!

Luckily, Greg has found a good way to handle rough performances. “Wow, I try to shut those out. We have really off nights sometimes, usually due to sound issues. You’d be surprised how terrible the stages at some great venues sound.” Sadly, he did not specify some in particular…

When Greg is not immersed in Leftover Salmon projects he finds other ways to stay busy. “I’m a professor at the University of Colorado/Denver in the Music and Entertainment Industry Studies program, so I’m already exploring my other avenues when I’m not on the road with LoS.” After hearing this, maybe I should have studied in Colorado? Could have been a wild time.

I asked Greg if he had any influences in his music. “Yes of course, too many to list. Jason Isbell has made an impact on me lately. I listen to John Coltrane whenever I can.” Now that is a perfect mix of musicians, I like the eclectic path Greg takes here.

To end, Mr. Garrison shared with me his current doings and his future plans with Leftover Salmon. “I’m sitting at Discount Tire waiting to get my tires rotated and balanced. We’re going into the studio in New Orleans soon to record a bunch of new songs with some New Orleans guests, which is really exciting. We haven’t dug into the Louisiana/Cajun/New Orleans side of our sound in a minute; I think we’re all energized to do so!” I am so looking forward to this and I recommend that you all get on board as well. Leftover Salmon will be rocking out for a while now and you best join them on their musical escapades. Enjoy the rest of your Labor Day weekend!


Jam On.


Related articles