2012 Artist Lineup

Emmitt-Nershi Band

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With years of collective experience under their belts, Drew Emmitt and Bill Nershi exemplify the forward-thinking modern bluegrass musician. As linchpins of two legendary jam-bands –Drew with Leftover Salmon, Bill with the String Cheese Incident–both men have done the stadium-filling, high-profile rock ‘n’ roll thing to perfection. Along the way, however, they’ve honed their songwriting and playing chops and studied the bluegrass, rock and jazz masters they admire. Above all, Drew and Bill have shared a commitment to keeping music human-scaled and honest. Those qualities are found in abundance on their latest and greatest collaboration, New Country Blues–11 tunes made in Newgrass heaven. Actually, the duo cut New Country Blues not far from home, in Colorado. Drew, who was born in Tucson, AZ and grew up in the heart of bluegrass country in Nashville, had been busy touring with Bill as the Emmitt-Nershi Band and had even done some reunion gigs with Leftover Salmon. Meanwhile, Bill had come to the Centennial State by way of New York State and New Jersey. Like his mandolin-playing bandmate, Bill had taken up bluegrass after catching a memorable edition of the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in the early 1980s. Back then he’d intended to return to New York, but the lure of blue-sky bluegrass in Colorado proved irresistible. For New Country Blues, these two pickers went to write songs over a long weekend in Estes Park, CO. “We wrote the songs in three days,” Drew says. “We holed up in this house and we just sat and came up with these tunes. It was a really smooth process. We bring out a lot of good things in each other musically, and we do well playing off each other.” Bill agrees, but he admits he wasn’t totally sure about the outcome of their collaboration in Estes Park. “I was a little nervous, because I hadn’t really written a lot of material at one time before,” he says from his home in Nederland, CO. “But it was real spontaneous, and both of us were willing to say yes to the other person’s ideas.”

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