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5 questions: Banjo player Andy Thorn hooks Leftover Salmon

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Leftover Salmon is back in West Virginia with a new album and a performance Sunday on "Mountain Stage."
WANT TO GO?"Mountain Stage" With Joan Osborne, Punch Brothers, Leftover Salmon, Lera Lyn, Sylvie LewisWHERE: WVU Creative Arts Center, MorgantownWHEN: 7 p.m. SundayTICKETS: Advance tickets $15, at the door $25INFO: 304-293-SHOW or   CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Jam band Leftover Salmon returns to its familiar stomping grounds this weekend with a 7 p.m. show Sunday in Morgantown on "Mountain Stage."It's turning out to be a busy spring for the band. Leftover Salmon is on the road and has a new record coming out soon, "Aquatic Hitchhiker," which features a pair of songs by the band's newest addition, banjo player Andy Thorn.The gazz spoke with Thorn about joining the band, playing the banjo and sharing the stage with people in other bands who used to be in Leftover Salmon.Q: How did you become a part of Leftover Salmon?
A: "Basically, through Drew Emmitt's old banjo player, Chris Pandolfi, who was in the Emmitt-Nershi band. He hooked me up with the gig when he stepped down. Through that, I got to know Drew pretty well, and when Leftover Salmon didn't have a banjo player, I jumped on that, too."Q: When did you pick up the banjo?A: "When I was 12, I got a banjo at a yard sale in my neighborhood for $50. I didn't take it too seriously for a couple of years. Eventually, I got in a band in high school and realized how much fun that was and got more into it."Q: Leftover Salmon has a new record out. As the new guy, how involved were you with the album's creation?
A: "I'd say I got pretty included. I've got two songs on the record. Everybody helped with the arrangements, but I'm pretty happy about that."Q: What two songs?A: "Well, I got the title track, which is an instrumental track I came up with that didn't have a name. The guys had already picked out a name for the record, 'Aquatic Hitchhiker,' and so we named my song that."My second song is called 'Light Behind the Rain.' It started off as a slow jam that's turned into full jam-band epic with long solos, electric guitar."Q: Your show on "Mountain Stage" in Morgantown also includes The Punch Brothers, with banjo player Noam Pikelny. Noam used to be in Leftover Salmon. Is that kind of weird to be on the same stage with a guy who used to have your job in your band?A: "It's not weird at all. That stuff happens so often. Our bass player used to be in The Punch Brothers. People in bands rotate, and Noam is a friend. Actually, he kind of helped me get the gig, too."
Reach Bill Lynch at or 304-348-5195.
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