Vince Herman
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Vince Herman


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The best kept secret in music


"New tricks for '06"

Something fishy about Vince Herman Trio

Many musicians claim to have been involved with music all their lives on press biographies, but Vince Herman is one of the few who can truly lay claim to having spent a lifetime in the industry and the music world. Founding member of Left Hand String Band, Salmonheads, Leftover Salmon and now the Vince Herman Trio, Herman has very few songs he doesn't know on guitar and even fewer that he can't pick up within a couple of minutes of intent listening. Playing the cosy confines of Samana in Vail, Vince Herman Trio brings its experience and a genuine joy of playing music to the snow-loving people of the valley.
- Vail Daily - Ben Quirk 1/10/06

"Fishin’ with Vince Herman"

This was the first word that I ever heard from Vince Herman some years ago, late at night after a couple days of hardcore beer drinking and sleep depravation at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. His gonzo-like voice came over the mic to begin the set of his band, Leftover Salmon, as the day drew to a close, reinvigorating the sun-drenched, beer-soaked crowd from their festival haze. Leftover was, for a time, the undisputed party band of the legendary festival, and one that found its germination in the fabled confines of the artistically vibrant Town Park Campground, a temporary utopian village set up for festival-goers during the weekend.
If one grammatical element could sum up Herman, his music and his boisterous, jovial personality it would no doubt be the exclamation point. His energy is contagious and his presence on any stage means a guaranteed party. That, combined with his tight, expert musicianship makes Herman a true figurehead for the newgrass generation.
Last year, after 15 years with Leftover, Herman and co-founder Drew Emmitt decided to put the band on indefinite hold. After the passing of banjoist Mark Vann in 2002, the band’s foundation was deeply jarred. Since their hiatus, Herman has ventured out on his own to continue the band’s legendary ability of getting a party started anytime, anywhere. His new Vince Herman Trio is currently getting their feet wet with a tour that breaks somewhat with the so-called slamgrass of Herman’s youth. It is a sound more mature and more deeply rooted in the American experience.
“The stuff we’ll be doing as a trio will be real different,” said Herman to Colorado’s Summit Daily News on Jan. 5. “We’ll be dashing around a lot of songs that come from Americana.”
The Trio is yet to put out a record, but from a five-song sampler of his recent work it’s obvious that Herman’s interests are moving closer to the Lowell George school of bluesy, country rock rather than the Cajun party music with which he burst on the scene over 15 years ago. Since Herman’s drift away from Leftover, he has produced a richer sound, one that could potentially take the public’s attention away from Herman as a frontman of a great American band to a powerfully creative solo artist, self-sufficient and confident. But confidence has never been something on Herman’s list of what he lacks. His new music shows an ever evolving artist, eager and hungry.
His tune “Appalachin Soul” hints at a Rolling Stones Exile on Main St. vibe with Herman’s trademark warm, welcoming vocals and his lyrics of keeping one’s roots intact. “Ride” rocks out with a groovy, trucker blues stomp and his musings of the wonder of one’s place in the universe. “I don’t know what generation I belong to/I don’t know how I fit in this world,” he sings with a hint that he just might not care where he stands relative to the rest of the world. For now, he’s just playing music. “Shanti Town” is reminiscent of Texas songster Robert Earl Keen with a swinging sing-along blissfulness.
Herman’s trio consists of Ekoostik Hookah founding member Cliff Starbuck on banjo, bass and guitar. Fiddler, guitarist, mandolinist, pedal steel guitarist and pianist Randy Crouch rounds out the trio’s lineup. Crouch hails from the Okie band the Red Dirt Rangers and is well-known for his wild, rock-styled fiddle playing. Herman met Crouch during a stint on the Spirit of Guthrie Tour last spring, which celebrated recently discovered notebooks of unused poems by legendary folk troubadour Woody Guthrie.
For his current slew of shows, Herman and company will be cruising through the West, making damn sure to bring the party to the snowy towns and ski villages that jettisoned his style in the first place. After all, according to Herman, music’s purpose is all about the ritual of the gathering.
“Back when Leftover started, people wanted to know why we wanted to play to a bunch of drunken ski bums,” he told Summit Daily News. “But those people were ready to react … they would just slam. And that’s always inspiring.”
- Flagstaff Live - Ryan Heinsius 1/12/06

"The salmon's not swimming, but Vince Herman keeps spirit alive"

According to Vince Herman, it's hard to keep the salmon machine running.

"We put the salmon to rest for awhile," said the creator of the band Leftover Salmon. "It was big and complicated with a tour bus and big crew."

Though Herman's new project, the Vince Herman Trio, features only three members, fans shouldn't worry about getting Leftover's leftovers.

With Herman's "twin of a different mom" Randy Crouch from Ekoostik Hookah on rock 'n' roll fiddle and Cliff Starbuck from Ekoostik Hookah playing banjo, bass and guitar, there's plenty of the same energy and spontaneity that folks have come to expect from a Leftover show. But there are differences, both obvious - the trio doesn't have a drummer - and more nuanced, like the self-described "Cajun-Americana" style of the band.

"The stuff we'll be doing as a trio will be real different," Herman said. "We'll be dashing around a lot of songs that come from Americana."

And what is Americana? Mostly folk and bluegrass - the musical heartbeat of American culture, Herman said. Since the trio draws from core American sounds, they'll go after the political spirit as well.

"Music has always been a powerful weapon at the heart of history," he said. "The line continues with folk and bluegrass, but the individual characters don't matter."

But coming together does. Herman's post-Leftover collaborations have invoked the musical styles of diverse musicians, both dead and alive. Last year, he played with the Spirit of Guthrie tour, where he met Crouch. The tour was held in support of the recently discovered notebooks of the late Woody Guthrie.

"We were playing tunes that Woody would be writing if he were around right now," Herman said.

For fans that missed the Leftover's slamgrass style, Herman put in appearances throughout the year with the "seven-piece, hippie country big band" Great American Taxi. Add these to shows with Shanti Groove, and it's clear that Herman has consistently upheld his (prehistoric) musical ideas. "The lines of music go way back to primitive man," he said. "It has always been a way for people to come together to reflect the culture and ask questions and celebrate."

Herman said he looks for this attitude in his audiences as well.

"Back when Leftover started, people wanted to know why we wanted to play to a bunch of drunken ski bums," he said. "But those people were ready to react ... they would just slam. And that's always inspiring."

- Summit Daily News - Lindsey Krusen 1/5/06

"Spirit of Guthrie Tour"

February 14, 2005
Spirit of Guthrie Tour, Featuring Vince Herman, Rob Wasserman, Jim Page, with Very Special Guest Theresa Andersson
On Tour Together For The First Time!

The Spirit of Guthrie Tour will feature very special evenings of words and music inspired by the ideals and newly discovered poems and notebooks of Woody Guthrie.

This rare collaboration features Vince Herman of Leftover Salmon, award-winning bassist Rob Wasserman, and legendary singer-songwriter Jim Page, each in solo performance and as well as all together.

Vince Herman and Jim Page will improvise lyrics together, Rob Wasserman will perform a handful of his solo bass songs first heard on his Rounder Records three-disc release TRILOGY, and as a trio, they will debut new songs inspired by and featuring the unpublished words of Woody Guthrie.

Vince, Rob, and Jim are honored to have celebrated New Orleans-based singer/songwriter Theresa Andersson join them for The Spirit of Guthrie Tour '05. Theresa will open each performance, as well as collaborate with the three during their sets.

The Spirit of Guthrie Tour: Spring 2005 tour dates are as follows:

March 18 -- Burlington, VT -- Club Metronome
March 20 -- Boston, MA -- Middle East Nightclub
March 22 -- New York, NY -- Tribeca
March 23 -- Philadelphia, PA -- North Star Bar
March 24 -- Farmingdale, NY -- The Downtown
March 25 -- Teanack, NJ -- Mexicali Blues
March 26 -- Amagansett, NY -- Stephen Talkhouse
March 28 -- Baltimore, MD -- Funk Box
March 29 -- Falls Church, VA -- State Theatre
March 30 -- Raleigh, NC -- The Pour House Music Hall
March 31 -- Charlotte, NC -- Neighborhood Theatre
April 1 -- Asheville, NC -- Stella Blue
April 2 -- Atlanta, GA -- Brandy House

Vince Herman
Vince Herman has been playing music as long as he can remember. Growing up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, polka filled his ears at an early age, along with Motown, Soul and Rock 'n' Roll. He discovered string band music in 1977 and Vince has been chasing it around ever since. After moving from West Virginia to Colorado in 1985, Vince played in the Left Hand String Band and the Salmonheads, before starting Leftover Salmon with Drew Emmitt in 1990. Vince has the unique ability to play nearly any song you could possibly request on guitar and if he doesn't know the lyrics he will spontaneously combine rhyming lines that are as good and sometimes funnier than the original tune. His genuine love for music and people has awakened many a festavarian across our nation. Vince has lived above 8,000 feet for over 15 years and is the proud father of two boys, ages 9 and 17. He loves his wife and talking politics into the early morning hours.

- Modern Guitars Magazine



A walk through the used record bins of some of the country's finest music stores with musicians, both famous and infamous.
Vince Herman is a Luddite, I'm sure of it.
I'm not saying the eccentric frontman of the polyethnic Cajun slamgrass outfit Leftover Salmon is out to dismantle any IBM he can get his hands on, but if you ask Herman what really gets him excited when he walks into a record store, you're certain to get an answer that would make Ned Ludd and his 19th century blue-collar British followers proud.
"78s, man," Herman says with a wide, bearded smile. "I've been collecting them with some regularity for a few years. I've probably got about 500 or so now. Glenn Howard at the Musicians Resource Center here in San Francisco helped me find my Victrola. It's the last model they made that's completely analog."
The joy the Nederland, Colorado resident exudes over having such an antiquated piece of music technology is obvious. Ironically, Herman actually shows some interest in the idea of an iPod when confronted with the device, but he doesn't own a computer. iTunes is safe from Vince for now, it seems.
"The goldmine for me as far as 78s go is the really old-time folk and bluegrass music," Herman continues. "Most of the time, I look for stuff that I've heard before – songs that other people have played or even tunes we've covered."
As we make our way into Amoeba Music, Herman spots his little slice of Heaven.
"Here it is, my corner in every record store," he says as we walk up to the 78s section. "This place is a little different than most, though. They've actually got some new arrivals. Most of the time, I'm sifting through old boxes and crates at thrift stores, garage sales or flea markets looking for these things. To be able to come here and constantly look through new arrivals, this is it for me."
We leaf through the notebooks of 78s, running across records with labels featuring groups like Tex Williams & His Western Caveria, Dude Martin & His Roundup Gang, Cliffie Stone and His Barn Dance Band and my personal favorite - T. Tyler, The Man with a Million Friends.
"The different group names are pretty funny, but the songs are even better," Herman says. "‘Waiting in the Lobby of Your Heart' by Hank Thompson, now that's a love song. Or how about ‘Woman is an S-letter Word' by Tennessee Ernie. Hey, I know this one...‘Rocky Road Blues' by Bill Monroe. We played it on Ask the Fish, I think. Emmylou sings it on this version from Hoosier Records in Indiana. That's the stuff I'm looking for. Any acoustic music is basically good with me."
The majority of Herman's favorite 78s come from a small label based in Cincinnati, Ohio called King Records.
"They recorded most of the early bluegrass and old-timey music," he says, flipping through the notebooks. "Mountain music, really, before it was called bluegrass. I'm also into the local labels, stuff that's a little more obscure- here's one from Ezzie Nicholas' Westerners. They're from Berkeley or Pacifica, some place around here. I'd be interested in hearing it, since it's local. It's definitely from the ‘40s. You can tell because of the small grooves. It's archaeology or shit with this stuff, basically. Some of it's great, some is crap. Look at all these – it's incredible that they've all survived this long."
Growing up in southern Pittsburgh as the youngest of seven kids, Herman was influenced heavily by the music his older siblings were listening to. Between the psychedelic rock of Deep Purple and Black Sabbath to the Motown sounds of The Miracles to the redneck rock of groups like the Charlie Daniels Band, Herman listened to a variety of different genres, which helps explain the musical diversity of Leftover Salmon.
"I think the first albums I bought growing up were Zeppelin's Houses of the Holy and America's first album with ‘Horse with No Name' on it," Herman says. "One major letdown from my childhood was that I never saw Kiss live. That was a major regret right there."
Around the ninth grade, Herman was over at a friend's house when he heard Tut Taylor's ‘The Old Post Office' for the first time, forever changing his life.
"It was at Scott Elliot's house on his parent's Quadraphonic stereo," he says. "I was just blown away. Norman Blake plays on that record and is still one of my favorite guitarists. That experience influenced me to go to the Smokey City Folk Festival. I went to the festival and as I was walking through the parking lot, I saw 20 or 30 people standing in a circle, pickin'. It threw me completely off course, man. All I wanted to know was how these people knew how to do that."
Herman started listening to any bluegrass music he could find, from the Stanley Brothers to Jessie McReynolds (Me and My Fiddle) to the Kentucky Colonels ("Kentucky Colonels is the quintessential redefining bluegrass album of all time") to Del McCoury.
"Del McCoury's Del McCoury and the Dixie Pals was really big for me," Herman - Andy Tennille


Colorado "new-grass" pioneers unite for a two-week tour throughout the western states for their "String-Fling Tour." The traveling event brings to light the long-term musical relationship between Leftover Salmon's front man, Vince Herman, and the musicians in Shanti Groove. The tour will feature a complete set with each artist followed by an extended collaboration between Shanti Groove and Herman.

Shanti Groove, treasured for their distinctive new-grass music, recently returned from recording their sophomore album in Nashville, TN with renowned producer Scott Rouse, a GRAMMY Nominee for "Producer of Bluegrass Album Of The Year," known for his work with Doc Watson, Del McCoury and Mac Wiseman among others. The band plays a variety of traditional bluegrass standards morphed with elements of jazz, rock, blues and earth-lovin' country along with a number of originals which shine as creatively as their unique and often humorous names.

Guitarist Vince Herman established the slamgrass legacy over 15-years ago when he formed Leftover Salmon, high in the Rocky Mountains. Herman, renowned for his distinctive poly-ethinic-guitar-pickin' and high-energy lyrics is a sought-after staple in the festival and touring circuit. He joins Shanti Groove for this tour after the recent announcement that Leftover Salmon will be taking an undetermined break from touring in 2005.

Together, their unique blend of electric, effect-heavy bluegrass can turn a tired Sunday performance into a foot stomping, jaw dropping musical fiesta for listeners of all ages. The following two-week tour promises to break the boundaries of improvisational bluegrass, as we know it.

String-Fling Tour

2.17 | Sierra Vista, Tahoe, CA
2.18 | Caspar Inn, Caspar, CA
2.19 | 12 Galaxies, SF, CA
2.20 | Sweetwater, Mill Valley, CA
2.23 | WOW Hall, Eugene, OR
2.24 | The Goodfoot, Portland, OR
2.25 | Nectar's, Seattle, WA
2.26 | Nightlife, Bellingham, WA
2.27 | Panimonicas, Tacoma, WA
3.03 | Bear Tooth, Alaska, AK

For more information check out the Shanti Groove's official website.

JamBase | Colorado
Go See Live Music! -


Leftover Salmon :: 12.31.04 :: Fox Theatre :: Boulder, CO

Drew Emmitt & Vince Herman :: 12.31.04 :: By Tony Stack
Like a school of frenzied aquatic vertebrates surging upstream to an ancient rhythm, fans of the now legendary, polyethnic, Cajun slamgrass band Leftover Salmon converged on Boulder's Fox Theatre at the end of 2004 to honor what has been a driving force in the wide and raging river of contemporary roots-based American music for 15 solid years. The dedicated devotees of this fish-themed, string-propelled, high-altitude looniness were present for what was billed as the last official hurrah for Vince, Drew, Noam, Bill, Greg, Jose, Corn Man, Mayor McCheese, Tuxedo Guy, Crazy Hat Woman, a host of staff, the spirit of Mark Vann, and of course, all the Salmon heads. Naturally, the music did not disappoint. With three Fox shows (plus dates in Vail and Steamboat) leading up the big New Year's finale, the group was in prime form for a musically eclectic end of year rave-up.

Leftover Salmon :: 12.31.04 :: By Tony Stack
The setting included a giant salmon suspended over the crowd and a colorful backdrop that featured a huge banjo, which was used to show slides featuring band road shots and classic photos of the late, great Mark Vann. As the Salmon heads filled the Fox -- a cozy venue known well by Front Range music fans and visitors alike -- the air was electric with anticipation. The guys took the stage around 10:15, kicking things off with "Ants In My Pants." They then flew directly into a crowd-amping rendition of John Hartford's "Steampowered Aeroplane." As the night progressed, it was abundantly clear just how consistently good this band has been and still is. The various Leftover shows I'd taken in over the years flowed back from the watery recesses of my memory -- high times in Telluride, festive outings at the Boulder Theater, an energetic performance at RockyGrass, and brilliant shows at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco. Phew, these guys have been making the rounds since the late '80s and have kept the jamgrass pumping like no one's business. From country, rock, and bluegrass-inflected numbers like "Up on the Hill," "Cash on the Barrelhead," "Railroad Highway," and "Breakin' Through" to the infectious silliness of the "BooBoo" and "Pasta on the Mountain," the band played it hot, varied, and flat-out insane on New Year's Eve. The old memories merged with the present to form the kind of musical magic that still fuels the rolling bus to Never Land that is the festival jam scene. And when funneled through a Salmon-ometer, this stuff smelled like rocket fuel.

Leftover Salmon :: Happy New Year :: By Tony Stack
Between tunes, Vince Herman spoke of the band's early days at the now defunct, though well-remembered, Boulder clubs Tulagi's on the Hill and JJ McCabe's Island Cafe. He reminded us that Leftover is part of the same Colorado roots scene that launched acts including Big Head Todd, The Samples, Acoustic Junction, and at least a couple generations of music-addicted neo hippies -- many of whom actually hold degrees from the University of Colorado (this reviewer included). Highlighting their ties to the Boulder scene and its storied past, the band was joined by Front Range guit-picker extraordinaire Ross Martin (perhaps best known from his days with the Tony Furtado Band). Acoustic Junction member Reed Foehl joined in as well with a soulful version of Van Morrison's "Tupelo Honey" accompanied vocally by Herman. Accordion player Joe Jogerst also loaned his chops to the blend. It was Colorado jam music at its best.

Drew Emmitt :: 12.31.04 :: By Tony Stack
Other highlights included a nice, second-set "Catfish John" that had the crowd swaying and singing along and a 3 am crescendo that saw both Vince Herman and his teenage son crowd-surfing while Drew Emmitt played wearing a cardboard box on his head. Did I mention the tons of shredded newspaper -- I mean "pasta," that was dumped on the stage and crowd? And props to Corn Man who danced one hell of a 12 am corn jig to the point where I thought his legs might pop off (think Russian vodka guy gone bad.) Let's just say I hadn't heard "fesssstivaall" yelled so many times and with such conviction since... well, since at least the last time I saw Leftover Salmon play.

The show marked the band's 15th anniversary to the day. The first Leftover outing was held at the Eldorado Cafe (locally known as "The Eldo") in Crested Butte back in 1989. And while the band probably won't be out on the road with the touring intensity of days gone by, chances are you might still be able to catch them at the bigger festivals, where the spirit of "feesssstivaall" lives on. And if Corn Man can still walk, he'll probably be there too.

Set List:

Set I: (10:22 p.m.)
Ants In My Pants (6:30), Steampowered Aeroplane (6:05), Breakdown (4:50), Sharon (9:35), Troubled Times (11:52), Railroad/Highway (15:43), Bend In The River (5:42), Fayetteville C -


"Leftover Salmon" LoS
“O Cracker Where Art Thou?" LoS
"Live" LoS
"Nashville Sessions" LoS
"Euphoria" LoS
"Ask the Fish" LoS
“Bridges to Bert" LoS


Feeling a bit camera shy


In the tiny mountain town of Nederland, Colorado, where the air is clean and city noise is nonexistent, you will find an environment in stark contrast with life on the road as a musician. Vince Herman, who spent 15 years as founder/front man for Leftover Salmon, has been counteracting countless long nights on tour by taking advantage of the peace and serenity of life in the Rockies.

In the 90's, Vince Herman changed the face of music by combining the talents of banjoist Mark Vann, mandolinist/guitarist Drew Emmitt, bassist Tye North and drummer Michael Wooten to form the polyethnic Cajun 'slamgrass' band that impressively juggled over 150 shows a year. Leftover Salmon traveled the country performing as one of the most-wanted festival acts, ultimately impacting the history of bluegrass culture and its many fans. Leftover Salmon participated in nearly every major North American festival over the past 15 years. They performed at High Sierra Music Festival eight times, Telluride Bluegrass Festival eight times, All Good festival three times, as well as a long list of others such as Bonnaroo, Wakarusa, Austin City Limits Festival, Jazz Aspen, Beale Street Music Festival and the H.O.R.D.E tour. Throughout their extensive career, special guests such as Tim O'Brien, Jim Page, Paul Barrare, Bill Payne, Bela Fleck, Waylon Jennings, Taj Mahal, Lucinda Williams, John Bell, Todd Park Mohr, John Cowan and Earl Scruggs have joined in on the Leftover fun.

Today, the hiatus of Leftover Salmon inspired Vince Herman to revisit the road with a fresh and energized rootsy, folksy, bluesy Americana pickin style. Vince consistently delivers a unique and powerful performance full of festive spirit, positive energy, witty humor, warm vocals, and rich lyrics. He has since showcased his solo creation at The Independent in San Francisco, the Night Grass in Telluride, String Summit, Hookahville, the All-Good Music Festival and the Opera House in Telluride (to name a few). Additionally, in March of 2005, Vince joined Rob Wasserman, Jim Page and Theresa Anderson for the Spirit of Guthrie Tour playing 13 dates in support of the recently discovered notebooks of the extremely influential Woody Guthrie. During winter of 2005-2006, the Vince Herman Trio included fiddle-legend Randy Crouch (Flying Horse, Red Dirt Rangers) and banjo/bass player extraordinaire Cliff Starbuck (Ekoostik Hookah).

When Vince Herman isn't on tour with a solo project, he can usually be found performing with his band Great American Taxi, contemplating politics and chopping wood.