Yonder Mountain String Band At Telluride Bluegrass #40

YMSB, Jay Blakesberg

YMSB, Jay Blakesberg

Telluride has its festivals. Nederland has Frozen Dead Guy Days.

No kidding, the event is celebrated annually, Friday – Sunday the first full weekend of March. A centerpiece of Frozen Guy Days is a screening of  the film “Grandpa’s in the Tuff Shed,” a magnum opus which premiered at Mountainfilm in Telluride in 1998. A centerpiece of the Telluride Bluegrass Festival is another Nederland import: Yonder Mountain String Band.

(In fact, Nederland is sending two bands to the 40th annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival: Yonder and Elephant Revival, the latter making its Main Stage debut. For more, see related post.)

Yonder  – banjoist Dave Johnston, mandolinist Jeff Austin, bassist Ben Kaufmann and guitarist Adam Aijala – are stars of the annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival Kickoff Party that takes place Wednesday, June 19, Telluride Conference Center , Mountain Village, following the FirstGrass Concert, 4 – 8 p.m. Yonder energizes the historic Sheridan Opera House playing at NightGrass show on Friday, June 21. The group’s Main Stage appearance takes place Saturday, June 22, 4 – 5:30 p.m.

Yonder’s set list should include newly minted material to be featured on their new studio release later this year, as well as songs from The Show, and extensive catalog of originals. Produced by Tom Rothrock (Beck, Foo Fighters), The Show includes 14 original compositions and features Yonder backed by Elvis Costello’s sideman Pete Thomas on drums on six tracks.

Yonder Mountain String Band has always played by its own set of rules. Blending bluegrass, rock and countless other influences, the band pioneered a sound of its own. With its traditional lineup of instruments, Yonder may look like a traditional bluegrass ensemble, but the music performed by the fabulous four transcends traditional genres. It’s bluegrass for the masses, acoustic tunes filled with dazzling chops – and fun to boot.

Yonder officially became a band in December 1998. Since then, the group developed both a devoted bluegrass and jam band fan base by crisscrossing the country and playing such varied settings as festivals, rock clubs, Red Rocks Amphitheater in the band’s home state, and even the Democratic National Convention in Denver at Mile High Stadium opening for Barack Obama.

For more about the history of Yonder Mountain String Band and a preview of its Telluride sets, click the play button and listen to my interview with Dave Johnston.

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