Vince Herman - Friend of the DFC
Vince Herman is a singer, songwriter and co-founder of the legendary band, Leftover Salmon. He spoke with us about his childhood, time living in Colorado and "getting lost together" in music.
From Polka to Bluegrass
It was a music festival that really got the ball rolling musically for Vince. “In eighth grade I went to the Smokey City Folk Festival and saw this group of about thirty people playing underneath a tree. I assumed they had just met each other, and there they were making this music … it was mind boggling that these folks could come together and play this stuff and that opened the door to the social aspect of music for me. It never occurred to me that by playing and learning these tunes I could travel anywhere and meet people and have this instant bond and musical camaraderie. That was a real revelation to me about what music can do. From that point on I really dug into bluegrass.”
Although the country and rock genres were popular at the time, Vince began branching out musically. “I was listening to Charlie Daniels and Marshall Tucker, southern rock. But more and more folks like David Bromberg and Doc Watson got into my ears and opened the door to bluegrass. When I moved to West Virginia and got into the old-timey music scene and got to play with heroes like Melvin Wine and Mose Coffman, that really connected me deep into the American roots scene. I guess I’ve been chasing that ever since.”
A Hippie with a Guitar
On the Hot Rize Trail
When he pulled into town that first night, Vince stopped in a place called The Walrus in Boulder and there was a sign outside that read: Live Bluegrass Tonight. “I walked into that place and the Left Hand String Band was playing. I would later join forces with the Salmon Heads and start this thing called Leftover Salmon that’s been going for 32 years now.”
And Vince is no stranger to the Denver Folklore Center. “The store has an amazing history from back when Harry Tuft was involved. So many people of great musical importance have passed through there. I’ve been to the store and known about it forever. That’s where Hot Rize got together. It’s a legendary place. I lived in Boulder and Nederland and bought an instrument at the store about fifteen years ago. Unfortunately, I never saw a show or performance there, but I know the mythology.”
Getting Lost Together
When he’s performing, Vince is all about the social aspect - meeting people and traveling. “There’s a lot of real-time presence at a musical event. I remember as a kid going to shows and that feeling right before it started – you just felt like you were going to pop! Just couldn’t take the buildup. And that’s really because you’re present. The rest of the world kind of goes away and you’re there. I like getting lost in that. And one reason I like the improv on stage is gathering people into the show in real time. That’s something essential to the human experience – to be lost in something as a group. I believe in it.”
Songwriting and Collaborating
“I’ve had a lot of great times with meeting a lot of new people who are incredibly talented and the writing process has been a real eye-opener for me. I’ve had so much fun doing it and I’m working on releasing my first solo record. After doing all this writing I’ve got a collection of songs I have to get out to people. So that will be coming out this summer."
Leftover Salmon isn’t his only band. Vince also plays with The High Hawks – a band that includes Tim Carbone (from Railroad Earth), Chad Staehly (from Hard Working Americans), Adam Greuel (from Horseshoes & Hand Grenades), Brian Adams (from DeadPhish Orchestra) and Will Trask (from Great American Taxi). They’ll be in Vail June 21st – all tour dates are HERE.
And enjoy some Leftover Salmon in 2022 as they support their latest album “Brand New Good Old Days” – see all their show dates HERE.
Catch the band in Colorado: