Keys Maestro Erik Duetsch on Leftover Salmon’s New Album 'Something Higher'

By: Cy Fontenot

For 28 years, Colorado’s bluegrass scene has been graced with the eclectic sounds of Leftover Salmon, one of the most considerable pioneers of the genre. Descendants of a lineage of impactful bands such as New Grass Revival, The Band, and The Grateful Dead, Leftover Salmon’s coined genre of “Poly-ethnic Cajun Slamgrass” has had a marked influence on the bluegrass scene as we know it.

Leftover Salmon.

Leftover Salmon.

I recently had the pleasure of exchanging a few words with Salmon’s keys player Erik Duetsch in reference to Leftover Salmon’s upcoming album 'Something Higher.'

Leftover Salmon has been at this for a while and have helped pioneer the bluegrass scene. How do you feel about how the community and how newer headlining acts have progressed?

Well I’m the newest guy to the scene, and pretty much one of the only keyboardists, so I’ve got a unique, if not slightly less-informed perspective: What I’ve seen from the new acts is a lot of energy, talent, and good youthful musicality. Billy Strings, the Kitchen Dwellers, and Horseshoes and Hand Grenades have really impressed me, and I wouldn’t doubt if all of their stock continues to rise rapidly.

What are some of your influences? Did any of them inspire the new record?

I’m literally influenced by all genres of good music new and old- classical, jazz, rock, funk, country- and I think our new album draws from all of this, at least from my personal keyboard input. In the end, I think we found a nice, artistic, pop-rock-folk album that feels modern and classic all at the same time.

If you had only one day on earth, what album would you listen to?

It would have to be Reach Out by Burt Bacharach.

Leftover Salmon at Winter Wondergrass 2018.

Leftover Salmon at Winter Wondergrass 2018.

Erik, who kills it hardest on the Hammond B3?

I think I Gotta go with Dr. Lonnie Smith. Shout out to Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGrith, and Shirley Scott too.

What territory does this new album explore?

[grinning widely] All of it! And more.

Pre-order Leftover Salmon’s new album ‘Something Higher’ and catch their upcoming tour dates on their website. Their new record drops May 4th so don’t miss them at Red Rocks later that month with Phil Lesh And The Terrapin Family Band; tickets here.


All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.