With the last show of its upcoming four-night stand (Dec. 28-31) at Denver’s Fox Theater taking place exactly 15 years to the day after its first concert, the members of Leftover Salmon have announced the jam band is taking an extended hiatus, which leaves the future uncertain for the veteran touring outfit.
“I think this is probably the most positive thing that ever happened for the band,” bassist Greg Garrison tells Billboard.com. “Just this opportunity to take a break and do some other things musically; I think [guitarist/mandolin player] Drew Emmit has been wanting to kind of explore his own music and explore bluegrass a little bit more. So for him, I think it’s been coming for a long time.”
“Then also, when Mark Vann, the original banjo player died in 2002, we kind of kept touring out of necessity for people,” he continues. “Because it happened so quickly, nobody had a chance to plan and figure anything else out to do.”
After eight albums and countless live shows by the “real blue collar working class band,” Garrison says the group decided to leave behind the burgeoning jam band scene, which now includes contemporary acts such as moe., the String Cheese Incident and Yonder Mountain String Band.
“I think [the jam band scene] is going to play itself out,” says Garrison. “[The] Bonnaroo [festival] has been slowing the scene down, helping it maybe gain a wider acceptance in the country and in the music business but it’s definitely killing a lot of bands as far as touring revenues and that kind of stuff.”
Garrison says since the sabbatical decision was made, Leftover Salmon has never sounded better, which he believes bodes well for the future of the band. As for his future, he plans on joining band mate Emmit’s bluegrass project.
With Phish having officially called it quits and Leftover Salmon seemingly up on blocks and out of commission, where will loyal fans of the improvisational-friendly genre turn for the next good time?
“What’s next? Who knows,” says Garrison. “I know [Widespread] Panic is going to be back in March, so people will have something do to at least. But I don’t know.”