Telluride Bluegrass Festival blog contest
Yonder Mountain String Band
Sunset Denver, Colorado Red Rocks and I couldn’t be happier. This time around it’s Yonder Mountain String Band whom I’ve never seen and am only vaguely familiar with. What I heard was precise dynamic interplay in and out back and forth between guitarist Adam Aijala, banjo expert Dave Johnston, mandolin man Jeff Austin, all tied neatly together by Ben Kaufmann’s deep groove upright base. Their intercortical tunneling corn cob pipe scales and rhythms, melodies bouncing along taking the audience with it made for a happy affair and a lovely introduction long overdue. They are bluegrass on juice and I like that. Some may find the extended jamming difficult to digest. Many songs went well past five minutes, perhaps a result of the boys’ infinite jamming, improvisational, on the spot abilities. There’s no doubt Yonder is the real deal hands down baddest bluegrass outfit out there. With that all encompassing redrock acoustic beauty it’s hard to believe a banjo, mandolin and guitar trading licks and having subtle conversations at in incredibly high rate of speed could make me forget my gorgeous surroundings. Well it did and that’s just fine. Jammed out bluegrass eloquent and graceful, frantic and frenzied. Unmatched musicianship and well versed in the history of the music played with all the vision and composition of what bluegrass can be. Aged tradition played with vision and an eye on the future. Yonder music bounced off those aged layers of earth mountain through strings and wood, band and brotherhood. Ya, I liked it.