A band in transition
Craig Fisher | USA | 11/20/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Leftover Salmon's latest release "Live" (rhymes with Give) is their 2nd major live release and 5th album overall (not counting the more heard about than actually heard "Taper's Reel"). While some of their past albums really showcased their diverse self-billed Cajun polyethnic slamgrass sound, this one pretty much stays in the same place. In fact it's hard to point to specific songs, because much of the album feels flat. The boys do hit a few high points, most notably "Dark Green Thing", which is way spacey and reaches some deep places over its 11+ minutes. Emmitt also throws down some sweet bluegrass on "Get Me Outta This City". But the keyboard driven "Railroad Highway" is just dreadful. Overall, they can't seem to kick it into high gear, in the way we've come to know and love 'em for. The band has definitely seen significant changes over time, most notably with the passing of their incredible banjo player and long time member Mark Vann (who does play on this album). But the band has also shifted around drummers as often as Spinal Tap, including Jeff Sipe (one of the best!). And along with Sipe's departure, Tye North, their bassist since the early/mid 90's, also parted company with the band; leaving only Vince Herman and the great multi-instrumentalist Drew Emmitt at the helm. In fairness, "Live" is documenting a band in a transitional phase, and that's a tough sell for anything more than the die-hard fan. The new guys are competent, though the reintroduction of keyboards into their sound is a misstep. But it's just that the bluegrass feels a little less raucous, and the Cajun tunes, a little less fun. I saw them live recently, and things have not gotten better since the loss of Vann. I really loved these guys back in the day, but if you want to know what's happened to their sound, ask the fish."
Live it up
L. martin | Myrtle beach, SC | 05/11/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Great fun. But what else would you expect from LOS.This cd was dedicated to Mark Vann, Salmon's ultra talented banjo player who past away this year after a battle with cancer. His playing really makes the disc shine, which I beleive was the intention of the remaining members.The sound quality is above average,but at some points the mix is just a bit off.But every tune is as enjoyable as the next."