(this piece was published by Planet JH Weekly)
Adding a legendary player to an already storied band does one thing—up the ante. It’s not as if Leftover Salmon needed a lineup refresher. They did, after all, take an eight-year hiatus before coming out of the gates again a couple of years ago in brilliant form. Seemingly reborn with 2012’s Aquatic Hitchhiker, the band is pushing the limits once again with fiery improvisations and a revived energy that substantial time away can often generate.
With the addition of Little Feat co-founder Bill Payne tickling the ivory, there will be an added sense of elegance and experience to the stage. The heady mix of feel-good tunes is sure to feel even better. Throughout their notable career, Salmon has played with a number of keyboardists including Pete Sears and Bill McKay, but Payne is a special treat from all angles. To this fan, he’s the ultimate rock keyboardist. A master on B3 organ, piano, or even his synth ingredients within the Feat’s jazz-fusion experimentation such as “Skin It Back”—all timeless and monumental. I can’t wait to see what he does with some of Salmon’s classic Cajun slamgrass.
Leftover Salmon with Bill Payne, 10 p.m. Wednesday at the Knotty Pine in Victor ($25, 208-787-2866), and 9 p.m. Thursday at the Pink Garter Theatre ($25-$28, PinkGarterTheatre.com).