Emmitt Nershi Band is a newly assembled outfit that is comprised of two of the founding members of Colorado’s biggest acts on the jamband circuit, Drew Emmitt (Leftover Salmon) and Bill Nershi (String Cheese Incident). On their studio debut, New Country Blues, they deliver a slice of breezy Rocky Mountain Americana complete with their blend of pickin’ and grinnin’.
If there’s pickin’ to be done, you could do far worse than Drew Emmitt, who thanks to his long tenure in Leftover Salmon and later projects like the Drew Emmitt Band, is one of the scene’s most visible mandolinists and bluegrass aficionados.
Never short on a strong opinion, Emmitt caught us up on all he has going on now, most notably a lengthy tour with the new Emmitt-Nershi Band (featuring Emmitt, Nershi, banjoist Andy Thorn and bassist Tyler Grant) and how getting back to basics — that is, the fun and fleet-fingered business of bluegrass — has been a blessing for both he and String Cheese Incident’s Bill Nershi.
With more on the horizon from the ENB, Emmitt’s band — and a stray Leftover Salmon reunion or two — it’s looking good that Emmitt’s year will finish better than it started, though if you’re holding your breath for that 40-date Leftover Salmon tour, it’s time to let go.
HT: Can you talk a little bit about how you and Bill decided to form a band together. Obviously you go way back and given the Colorado origins, have a lot in common as musicians and otherwise.
DREW EMMITT: Yeah, definitely. I guess where it started was we were at a benefit show in Boulder for the Mark Vann Foundation in 2007. We did some playing together there and just started talking backstage about how it’d be cool to play some bluegrass together. Later, I was down in Florida for a tour with my band and I heard from Billy. He said he was quitting String Cheese and wanted to put this band together and from that point on we’d planned to do it six months later so we’d have time to get it going.
READ ON for the rest of Chad’s chat with Drew Emmitt…
For the past 24 hours we’ve been remiss in not writing about the sad meltdown of Leftover Salmon that’s happening out in Colorado. The story keeps on changing, so stay with us and we’ll start from the beginning.
[Eagle County Sheriff’s Department]
On New Year’s Eve, Salmon keyboardist Bill McKay performed with his solo band at Rick & Kelly’s American Bistro in Edwards, Colorado. On January 9, a woman contacted the police and told them that McKay drugged her after that show and brought her home, where she alleges McKay sexual assaulted her. McKay was arrested Tuesday at his Denver home on a charge of sexual assault.
You’d expect your family – or in this case your band mates – to defend you, but Leftover Salmon’s Drew Emmitt immediately threw McKay under the bus. Yesterday, Emmitt told Boulder’s Daily Camera that McKay was an alkie and no longer a member of the band…
“We have been aware of Bill’s drinking problem for a long time,” Emmitt said. “We’ve been trying to help him, but we knew he was going down this path. He’s been really lucky that something bad hasn’t happened before this.
“He’s no longer with this band.”
“We definitely want to let people know that he is just one person in this band and that he is no longer with us,” Emmitt said. “We’re just going to find another keyboard player. This is beyond what any of us can deal with.”
READ ON for more on today’s installment of As The Leftover Salmon Turns…