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Leftover Salmon seeks to be a catch in Columbus

Courtesy of Erin Scholze

Leftover Salmon did its first show on New Year’s Eve in 1989 as a one night gig in Crested Butte, Colo. Twenty-three years and seven albums later, the band is back on tour under the name that guitarist and vocalist Vince Herman proposed as a joke on that fateful night in ’89.

Drew Emmitt, string instrumentalist and occasional flute player for the band, is also considered a founding member of Leftover Salmon. Emmitt offered up some of his bandmates from his band Left Hand String Band to Herman’s band, which was named Salmon Heads at the time.

On the way to the band’s first show, Herman, joking, said the merger of the two bands could be called “Leftover Salmon” for the night. The name stuck.

Leftover Salmon is scheduled to perform 7 p.m. Wednesday at Newport Music Hall.

The band denotes its combination of bluegrass, rock, country and Cajun sound by the title “Polyethnic Cajun Slamgrass.” Emmitt said the band draws its influences from rock band Blues Traveler, country musician Waylon Jennings and The Rolling Stones.

Emmitt said over the years the group has “gone away from the Cajun/Polyethnic sound a little bit and started leaning more towards the rock ‘n’ roll sound.”

Since its formation, Leftover Salmon has rotated through several band members, but the central three have been Emmitt, Herman and former banjoist Mark Vann, who died of cancer in 2002.

The band put out its first album, “Bridges to Bert,” in 1993. After the release of its self-titled album “Leftover Salmon” in 2004, the band went on hiatus from recording new material for a few years, but got back together in 2007 for a few shows, which led to the new album and tour. Leftover Salmon released “Aquatic Hitchhiker” this year, and began its fall tour Oct. 2 in Millvale, Pa.

“We went on a brief hiatus, but after a few years I really wanted to give it another shot, so I called up our manager to see if he thought there would (be) any interest,” Emmitt said. “He told me that he had already (received) a few calls, so we agreed to do a few shows to test the water. After that we were ready to go right back to it.”

Ohio State alumnus Erin Scholze, who works for Dreamspider Publicity and is Leftover Salmon’s publicist, said the band is expecting a big turnout in Columbus.

“There is a big buzz about the show,” Scholze said. “All of the shows have been nice and full this tour.”

John Joy of Red Underground Management, the band’s manager, said people can expect diversity from the show.

“The band has over 300 songs to pull from, both covers and originals,” Joy said. “They mix it up every night. They have been loving playing the new tunes and have been throwing a handful of them in nightly.”

Tickets are available for $20 in advance through Ticketmaster or $25 at the door.

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