Exclusive Interview with Leftover Salmon’s Andy Thorn

Interview by Nick Hobbs

Recently Leftover Salmon has been hard at work back on the festival seen in full force playing shows from Delfest to High Sierra and all in between. One of the reasons maybe the tour de force of banjo playing by Andy Thorn. The youthful energy he brings maybe one of the driving forces behind their return to touring. No matter what it is we’re pretty stoked to have more Leftovers. I was recently given a chance to chat with Andy about joining the band and life on the road.


AJ- Thanks for giving me the opportunity to let our readers know a little about you, I would guess you’re pretty busy right now gearing up for your fall tour. I know it kicks off soon in Morgantown West Virginia. Are you ready for that, what are you doing to prepare?

AT-No problem I’m happy to chat. We’re ready, we’re actually on our way to Virginia Beach to play a free show at the American Music Festival in VA Beach.

AJ-That should be nice do you think you will get a chance to relax in the sun? 

AT- I’ll definitely be on the beach trying to rest up for a busy weekend. After this we head back to Denver and since we had nothing planned we decided at the last minute to hold an after Phish show at Cervantes and it sold out almost instantly. Then the next day we shoot up to Laramie Wyoming to play the Snowy Range Music Festival. 

AJ- Wow you’ve got some serious traveling ahead of you over the next few days.
This is a question you probably get asked a lot but I’m going to ask it anyway. Where are you from and what were you doing before you joined Leftover Salmon?

AT- Well I was raised in North Carolina and I picked up my first banjo when I was like 12 at a yard sale. I just played and played that thing and eventually I joined a band called the Big Fat Gap Band. Then I got to play with Larry Keel for a while, the whole time learning and meeting other musicians. After playing with Chris Pandolfi (of Infamous Stringdusters) he recommended me to Drew. After playing with the Emmitt Nershi Band Drew had me play a handful of shows with Leftover filling in when Matt (Flinner) couldn’t play. It was lots of fun and I just slowly got in like that. 

AJ- Nice that sounds like a wild ride. So the guys in Leftover seem like a pretty fun group. A lot of joking around, the crazy Mayor McCheese mascot. Who would you say is the biggest prankster of the group?

AT- I think you know the answer to that one.

AJ- Vince?

AT- You got it, his spirit for pranking or Anawhacking as he calls it is priceless. He bombards campsites with rambunctious loud music in the middle of the night with a band of roaming musicians. It is a real site to see.

AJ- And Mayor McCheese will he be on tour this year?

AT- Maybe back home, he use to come out a lot more often then he does now. He has been kidnapped on the road so he kind of stays in Colorado now.

AJ- So do you feel that you bring anything new to Leftover?

AT- Lately I’ve been able to be more creatively involved. At first I was just sitting in and playing old material but I’ve been writing new songs with the band. High Country and Thornpipe being a couple of them.

AJ- Those were just released in conjunction with Breckenridge brewery right?

AT- Yep we’ve got 4 new songs coming out with them, you can get a download code for them in cases of Breckenridge beer.

AJ- Bluegrass and beer, great combo I’m sold! 
Well thanks for your time today, I’ll let you get to the beach.

AT- My pleasure, thanks. 


You can check out Andy’s banjo playing this fall at these local upcoming shows. Oct 29th Fayetteville AK, Oct 30th Nashville TN, Oct 31st Atlanta GA, Nov 1st Charlotte NC, Nov 3rd Wilmington NC, Nov 5th Charleston SC, Nov 7th Carrboro NC, Nov 8th Washington DC, Nov 9th Richmond VA, Nov 9th Louisville KY, Dec 11th Strings and Sol Puerto Morelos Mexico.