Yonder Mountain String Band

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Yonder Mountain String Band

The Yonder Mountain String Band are four young Colorado transplants who grew up with all manner of rock and roll but fell in love with bluegrass so deeply and naturally that you might as well call it destiny. The sound wasn’t part of their family heritage or commonly heard in the Midwestern and Northeast towns in which they were raised. Bluegrass was something they had to discover – through records old and new, fellow musicians, and hitting the road. And once they’d made the sound somehow their own, an equally young and passionate audience quickly discovered them.

There are many colorful ways to describe Yonder Mountain, but “ready for anything” may be the most apt. During their Cabin Fever tour of the Southeast the winter of 2005, the power went out in the middle of a gig at the New Daisy Theatre in Memphis, which would have literally been a buzz-killing situation for any other act. But this acoustic quartet is accustomed to performing an encore without amplification every night, gathered close together at the front of the stage like a vintage bluegrass combo. So no electricity meant no problem; they just stepped away from their gear and kept on playing. The following night at the Tabernacle in Atlanta, the juice stayed on, but there was a different kind of electricity in the air. According to bassist Ben Kaufmann, “There has never been a heavier moment in acoustic music, more punk, than what happened while we were playing then.” Yonder Mountain is capable of taking off in any musical direction when they’re locked into one of their improvisational grooves, and this time, Kaufmann says, they were channeling some astonishing hard-rocking energy simply on acoustic guitar, banjo, upright bass and mandolin.

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