The late Leftover Salmon was a near-complete package when it came to pure entertainment value. Drew Emmitt’s emotive tuneage coupled with the showmanship—really just outlandish antics—of Vince Herman gave the beloved band balance and cohesion. Leftover Salmon may be no more, but guitarist Herman is still penning songs, this time with four Boulder, Colo. musicians under the moniker Great American Taxi.
Streets of Gold is a blast of Rocky Mountain revelry and a country-tinged respite from the usual bluegrass-laden sound of the region. “Appalachian Soul” shows a contemplative and poignant side of Herman. Country rockers like “Ride” and the reworking of the Bad Livers’ “Lumpy, Beanpole and Dirt” reveal Herman is a haircut and shave away from a CMT video. Herman is unquestionably the marquee musician here, but listen to keyboardist Chad Staehly’s songwriting talent paraded with the rollicking “Straw Man” or Jefferson Hamer’s Neil Young-flavored “New Directions” and the band’s considerable depth is revealed.
Great American Taxi has managed a Nashville Sessions-caliber album (that being Leftover Salmon’s crowning achievement) on the first go-around, and exude a country coolness in the process. (Jonathan Stumpf)
Great American Taxi plays the Badlander Wednesday, March 19, at 9 PM. Corn Mash opens. $10/$7 in advance.