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cover (Custom).jpgYonder Mountain String Band
Mountain Tracks: Volume 4
&copy: 2006, Frog Pad Records

For my brief tenure as the Live Music Blog, I’ve never felt the need to get into Yonder Mountain String Band. Bluegrass music in its purist form is not anything that I grew up listening to, nor did my parents or my older siblings, nor did anyone else I knew for that matter. Hardly commonplace in the rich, affluent Chicago suburbs where I grew up, it makes sense that I have no history or foundation to build my appreciation for bluegrass music on…

Therefore and by default, I don’t actually like bluegrass music all that much. It just doesn’t appeal to that musical upbringing that I hold dear, and it’s the same reason why I absolutely love Umphrey’s McGee. Different strokes.


But wait a second, Yonder Mountain String Band has just put out a doozy of a live album that aims to convert the non-believers, even straight-up directed at me with a smokin’ Talking Heads cover (Girlfriend is Better) to open the album. Live albums always work their mojo on me…

Someone proposed a juicy thought the other day on the message boards, particularly in reference to Umphrey’s McGee’s recent streak of performing no covers–while performing all originals is certainly impressive as a band, they’re also missing out on the opportunitiy to help convert non-fans to the music by performing covers that those non-fans might enjoy. “Yeah, Umphrey’s McGee and their friggin’ time changes piss me off, but I loved that smokin’ version of Hot For Teacher, so now I’m a fan…” Okay, maybe that is a stretch but it’s a good point to bring up in the context of this album…

Yonder Mountain String Band covers one of my favorite bands (Talking Heads) in a format that you’d never expect to hear the Talking Heads–bluegrassy (or jamgrassy, whichever you prefer).

Instantly I’m sold and I have to eat all my thoughts on the how, why, and why not regarding my lack of bluegrass interests. I listen to the album completely attentively and I’m hooked. “Looking Back Over My Shoulder” is great but my highlights have to be “Corona” and “River.” There’s an audience member that bellows an evil screaming “yeahhhhhhhhhhhh!” the second Ben Kaufmann introduces “River,” and you’ve got to love love love that enthusiasm.

Fast forward to a week or so later when they’re announced as added to Summer Camp 2006, and instantly I’m psyched that I’ll get my first proper moment of appreciation for Yonder Mountain String Band in a very proper setting. I will now begin to kick myself for purposely skipping their Big Summer Classic set last year. Yes, I am an idiot.

This album comes highly recommended by Live Music Blog, so much so that we’re actually giving away a copy. Not only is this a live album, there’s a bonus DVD inside entitled, The Europe Bootlegs–quite a nice little giveaway as a “first” for Live Music Blog contests.

If you’re interested in a free copy of Yonder Mountain String Band’s Mountain Tracks: Volume 4, please send an email to [email protected] with the subject, “YMSB” (no quotes) and your name will be put into a hat. The winner will be drawn at the end of the month and you will be notified if you’re the lucky Yonder fan…

Note: this email address is kept completely safe and confidential, and I will never sell your email address or solicit you against your will. I promise.