“Leftover Salmon” sure doesn’t sound like the name of a country/folk band, but they are one of the more interesting ones floating around in the back of the musical refrigerator. There’s urgency in the music, coupled with solid writing that is neither histrionic nor sappy. The material covers life, travel and even a bit of love, which you might suspect. But it’s their musical arrangements that really stand out. Every note is crisply carved out of the fret boards; arrangements are complex and thoughtful, without becoming overly contrived or flamboyant. You’ll hear bits of Dire Straits and Santana lurking in the notes, but Leftover Salmon never becomes derivative.
It’s hard to pick a favorite song, everything sounds good, and they show an amazing versatility in styles. “Woody Guthrie” is a strong contender for a hit — it’s a call to the Godfather of Folk to come back and save us from ourselves. Sure, he couldn’t save us 40 years ago, but now he’s dead, and there’s no salvation like the dreams of the famous and deceased. “Whisper Waters” has few words, but long, complex melodies, reminiscent of the Allman Brothers at their peak. For the more technically minded, “Everything is Round” covers a few little laws of physics, and is one of few folk songs that really get to the heart of the curved space-time concepts of 20th century physics.
Leftovers? I’d order them up anytime. Here’s a band I’d love to see live with a bottle of wine and the right person, but in the mean time I think this CD will go into the jukebox rotation.
Commotion Records: www.commotionpr.com