Great American Taxi has Leftover Salmon-Tahoe flavor |

Great American Taxi has Leftover Salmon-Tahoe flavor

Dan Thomas

If Great American Taxi and its famous frontman might sound excited about the venue they’re playing, they’re especially anticipating a special guest or two.

“It’s great, man,” Vince Herman said by phone from Wyoming. “We always have a time playing out in California.”

What makes the prospect of Sunday’s show at the Crystal Bay Casino — where Herman will make his debut with Great American Taxi after playing there with Leftover Salmon — more enticing is the likely return of a Lake Tahoe-area local who figures prominently in the band’s mythology. Magoo, who Herman identified as the Tahoe guy who appears running across the portable toilets on Leftover Salmon’s 2002 “Live” disc, broke some bones in a fall when the band played Shoreline.

“He’s just a legendary guy who can get the crowd worked up with his vocal stylings,” Herman said.

Herman expects to see the band and fan favorite at Crystal Bay.

“He’s healed up and good to go.”

Great American Taxi is hitting the road again three months after releasing its debut, “Streets of Gold.” On the heels of three years on tour, the time in the studio proved to be a respite.

“The studio was really nice to get into. Songs kind of evolve on the road playing live and that stuff, but it’s good to make a document like that,” Herman said. “It’s strange, but they last forever, unlike live shows.”

Fans likely will recognize the imprint of Herman, but Great American Taxi represents a slightly different school of thought. The bluegrass tinge is leftover from the Salmon, but the new band focuses on rock and strong songwriting and characterizes its style as “new Americana without borders.”

“Americana is a pretty wide range of music and we definitely do that in our shows from hip to reggae to the country rock kind of stuff, but still it’s kind of hard to figure out what kind of band it is,” Herman said. “We’re just citizens of the planet trying to figure out which borders to cross and which borders not to.”

In Great American Taxi, Herman joins some jam-band legends in keyboard player Chad Staehly, Jefferson Hamer on guitar and vocals, Jake Coffin on drums and vocals, and Edwin Hurwitz on bass. But if snow makes a special guest appearance at Tahoe, don’t be surprised if Mother Nature steals the show.

“The casino up there is a great place to play, real fun, and we’re hoping to kick off ski season,” Herman said by phone from Wyoming, where the band traveled from its suddenly snowy Colorado home.

“We’ll bring the snow with us.”

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