This combo hailing from Nederland, Colorado, whose roots can be traced back to Urbana, Illinois, has been trekking across the world for 15 years. Yonder Mountain String Band is renown for their energetic live performances. They bring the party back to bluegrass, a genre that at times seems to have become more of a historical relic than a breathing American art form.
Yonder Mountain String Band defy genre, bringing an eclecticism to the the string band tradition. Disguised amongst the improvisational talent of Ben Kaufmann, Jeff Austin, Adam Aijala and Dave Johnston are songs "steeped in old-timey material" with a quest to move the tradition forward.
Yonder Mountain String Band brings a new tradition of writing and playing to the dusty roots of bluegrass. They're adding new spices to the time-honored stew that makes them unique amongst the many circles that they travel in. They create a new excitement, much like the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band did with their classic "Will the Circle be Unbroken." Yonder Mountain String Band adds the groove and extended improvisational elements made famous by the likes of the Grateful Dead, Phish and String Cheese Incident, bringing new listeners to the sounds made famous by the likes of Earl Scruggs, Roy Acuff and Bill Monroe.
Away from the stage lights and nestled in the KDHX studio, Yonder Mountain String Band lets its hair down to run through the songs “Smiles Like You've Always Been a Friend," "Lay It on the Line," "Lonesome Letter" and "Little Lover," all of which showcase its genre-defying eclecticism.
All photos by Joe O'Toole.