At times, Peter Rowan seems like the Zelig of roots music, that is, like the person in Woody Allen's film of the same name who becomes whoever he is standing next to. In the course of his long career, Rowan has been a bluegrass boy, a new-age Buddhist mystic and truly everything in between.
Old Salt Union hail from Belleville, Ill., a little town just across the river from St. Louis and the home of gone-but-not-forgotten Uncle Tupelo. However, these boys have more in common with Sam Bush and newgrass than Messrs. Tweedy and Farrar.
A haze descended over the audience as the lights rose over Yonder Mountain String Band on Friday evening at the Pageant. The night was filled with a groove that could be placed somewhere between the Grateful Dead and the classic bluegrass of Flatt and Scruggs, with country melodies and a musical muscle evident in jam-band circles. Dancers, drinks and bona-fide hippies took delight in all the sights and sounds.
Aside from the expansive light show and jam-band aesthetic, Yonder Mountain String Band is as blue as the grass of Kentucky.
The members of the young, local band Old Salt Union were kind enough to sit down with me before their show with Acoustics Anonymous on February 14 at the Old Rock House to talk about their friendship, their new CD and their desire to open for the Deftones.