Yonder Mountain String Band

Yonder Mountain String Band has always played music by its own set of rules. Bending bluegrass, rock and countless other influences that the band cites, Yonder has pioneered a sound of their own. With their traditional lineup of instruments, the band may look like a traditional bluegrass band at first glance but theyÍve created their own music that transcends any genre. Dave Johnston points out ñWhat could be more pure than making your own music.î YonderÍs sound cannot be classified purely as ñbluegrassî or ñstring musicî but rather itÍs an original sound created from ñlooking at music from [their] own experiences and doing the best job possible.î The band continues to play by their own rules on their new record The Show.

The Colorado-based foursome has crisscrossed the country over the past eleven years playing such varied settings as festivals, rock clubs, Red Rocks Amphitheater in the bandÍs home state, and recently the Democratic National Convention in Denver at Mile High Stadium opening for Barack Obama. Their loyal fanbase has been built from this diverse setting of music venues as fans latched on to their genre-defying original sound.

The band has long cited such varied influences as the bluegrass of Del McCoury, Johnson Mountain Boys, Jimmy Martin, Bill Monroe, Osborne Brothers as well as the punk rock of Bad Religion, Black Flag and the Dead Kennedys. Somewhere in between these two tent poles are early 20th Century composers and alternative rock bands like Grandaddy and Postal Service. ItÍs all funneled through the bandÍs unique chemistry, honed since they first met at an informal club performance in 1998. With band members writing individually, in different pairings and as a collective, the album proves that this group is a collection of creative peers and you can hear it in the rich tapestry of music that makes up The Show.

The band is a regular at bluegrass festivals like the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and the band’s own Northwest String Summit as well as massive multi-stage events like Austin City Limits Festival, Bonnaroo and Rothbury. Fans are no doubt drawn to YonderÍs anything goes attitude, its humor and passion about music, and the bandÍs ability to stretch out live. ñWe love that people come to see us,î Johnston points out. ñEveryone appreciates good music. Some people want to go to a recital and some people want to party.î

But as its fans know, Yonder Mountain String Band does something a little different, more than just a musical party. The Show is the bandÍs most varied and versatile album to date, and the summation of the journey that these guys are on together. ItÍs bluegrass for the masses, acoustic tunes filled with dazzling chops, and itÍs fun to boot. The humble Johnston sounds as surprised as anyone by the bandÍs success, but knows that it all boiled down to chemistry, which has never changed. ñSomewhere down there we all kind of recognized that we had something unique,î he explains. ñBut there is no way I could have imagined the amount of success that the band has had.î


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January 28, 2015