Telluride Bluegrass: Yonder Mountain String Band

Telluride has its festivals. Nederland has Frozen Dead Guy Days. No kidding, celebrated annually from Friday – Sunday the first full weekend of March. A centerpieces 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.

(left to right) Dave Johnston, Adam Aijala, Ben Kaufmann, Yonder Mountain String Band, by Jay Blakesberg

(left to right) Dave Johnston, Adam Aijala, Ben Kaufmann, Yonder Mountain String Band, by Jay Blakesberg

Yonder  – now banjoist Dave Johnston, bassist Ben Kaufmann and guitarist Adam Aijala – is back again for the 41st annual event, June 19 – June 22, 2014, kicking off the long weekend with a NightGrass set Wednesday, July 18, at the Telluride Conference Center in Mountain Village. A second NightGrass set takes place Friday, June 20 at the historic Sheridan Opera House. Yonder’s Main Stage appearance is scheduled for Saturday, June 21, 4 – 5:30 p.m. With former band member, mandolinist Jeff Austin, pursuing a solo career, Yonder performs all three shows with special guests Ronnie McCoury and Jason Carter.

Bluegrass is a music steeped in tradition, but over the past decade and a half – much of it spent on the road – Yonder Mountain String Band has always played by its own set of rules. Following in the tradition to be non-traditional established by NewGrass Revival at the dawn of Telluride Bluegrass, much like Leftover Salmon, The Travelin’ McCourys and Railroad Earth, blending bluegrass, rock and countless other influences, Yonder pioneered a sound of its own. It’s bluegrass for the masses; acoustic tunes filled with dazzling chops; most of all, it is good, clean fun.

Yonder officially became Yonder in December 1998 and since went on to develop both a devoted bluegrass and jam band fanbase. In fact, they are one of the top touring bluegrass (sort of) bands in the country today. In all, Yonder Mountain logs over 100 live dates per year.

To learn more, click the “play” button and listen to my interview with Dave Johnston.

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