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Vince Herman, The Shanti, St. Louis, MO- 7/22

Vince Herman met fiddle virtuoso Randy Crouch at this years Woody Guthrie Folk Festival and the two immediately hit it off. One week later, they were still playing together and Herman deemed the Tahlequah, Oklahoma-based musician his twin brother, Funky Red.

On Friday July 22, the dynamic duo played The Shanti in St. Louis. Their beer garden set included spirited versions of the Herman-penned "Hey Woody Guthrie," the Leftover Salmon standard "Ain’t Nobody’s Business" and Bob Dylan’s "Buckets of Rain." They closed with a rousing "Fuzzy Little Hippie Girl," into "Girl With the Biggest Hair and the Longest Nails."

The two then migrated inside, joining hometown band Alabaster Brown for a 90-minute closing set. There were nine musicians crammed into a small corner tavern that was hotter than hell and packed to the rafters.

Things started off with a Brown-dominated cover of Johnny Cash’s "Big River." When Crouch took his first solo the rolling waters turned to rapids. He shredded through song after song stopping only to swill and change strings.

Herman tread carefully at first, but quickly seized control of the band, tearing through high-energy, slam-grass-versions of "He’s Gone," "You Ain’t Going Nowhere" and "I’m Feeling All Right," complete with requisite, City of Blues-themed improv.

The evening’s highlights were Willie Nelson-inspired, most notably the politically twisted "Mama’s Don’t Let Your Cowboys Grow Up To Be @$$holes." Before the hyper-extended, set-closer "Stay All Night, Stay a Little Longer," Herman shrugged off a warning to his band mates: "This one’s in E minor… just follow me." His new friends cautiously obliged, ultimately delivering his strongest rhythm section since Tye North-era Salmon.

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