Yonder Mountain String Band – Mountain Tracks: Volume 4

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.

30 COMMENTS

  1. LOL!

    I love it…you can argue that the world is a better place for the fact that UM and YMSB can share the same stage, and yet their fans are usually miles apart…

  2. LOL!

    I love it…you can argue that the world is a better place for the fact that UM and YMSB can share the same stage, and yet their fans are usually miles apart…

  3. I’m not a huge YMSB fan (at least in terms of their live show, I LOVE Town by Town), but I love Railroad Earth and the bluegrass aspects of SCI.

    Of course I’m the one who was known to say at DB shows that the endless 20 minute techno jams would have more power if an occasional bluegrass song broke them up.

  4. I’m not a huge YMSB fan (at least in terms of their live show, I LOVE Town by Town), but I love Railroad Earth and the bluegrass aspects of SCI.

    Of course I’m the one who was known to say at DB shows that the endless 20 minute techno jams would have more power if an occasional bluegrass song broke them up.

  5. my wife loves yonder and i have been, well…nonplussed

    but i LOVE the new railroad earth disc- elko, and she’s pissed i like them better than yonder

    try out elko…incredible

    great blog, thanks, and keep up the good work

    and zzyzx, you ruined my workflow with that splatting blobs game, thanks..alot.

    PGroove in Vail tonight, can’t wait.

  6. my wife loves yonder and i have been, well…nonplussed

    but i LOVE the new railroad earth disc- elko, and she’s pissed i like them better than yonder

    try out elko…incredible

    great blog, thanks, and keep up the good work

    and zzyzx, you ruined my workflow with that splatting blobs game, thanks..alot.

    PGroove in Vail tonight, can’t wait.

  7. Yeah, they really seem to be allergic to a lot of spots other than the south. I don’t think they’ve played Chicago in quite a while (correct me if I’m wrong)…

    Railroad Earth Elko is going to be one of my next reviews. Definitely…

  8. Yeah, they really seem to be allergic to a lot of spots other than the south. I don’t think they’ve played Chicago in quite a while (correct me if I’m wrong)…

    Railroad Earth Elko is going to be one of my next reviews. Definitely…

  9. Hey…read my hetty review with John Skehan of RRE on Jambands. Do I self-plug? F*** YEAH because my subjects are interesting, not me. :-)

  10. Hey…read my hetty review with John Skehan of RRE on Jambands. Do I self-plug? F*** YEAH because my subjects are interesting, not me. :-)

  11. Those Pgroove boys don’t have the transportation to make a Pac NW trip yet.

    They have their troubles getting to and from Cali in their van/trailer combo.

    Don’t know if they have ever played in Chicago…i’ll ask em tonight.

  12. Those Pgroove boys don’t have the transportation to make a Pac NW trip yet.

    They have their troubles getting to and from Cali in their van/trailer combo.

    Don’t know if they have ever played in Chicago…i’ll ask em tonight.

  13. Just like black liqourice bluegrass is an acquired taste. (Unless you grew up with it)

  14. Just like black liqourice bluegrass is an acquired taste. (Unless you grew up with it)

  15. PGroove – hitting Urbana March 30th and skipping Chicago unlike 90% of other acts who just tour through the midwest and aren’t from around here. Can’t say it doesn’t make me a little happy, but it’s harsh for the Chicago fans. It’ll be my first show for them, too.

  16. PGroove – hitting Urbana March 30th and skipping Chicago unlike 90% of other acts who just tour through the midwest and aren’t from around here. Can’t say it doesn’t make me a little happy, but it’s harsh for the Chicago fans. It’ll be my first show for them, too.

  17. RRE – yes, i havent heard it yet but i am itching. As for Yonder i like their sound for about 30 mins then i need to move on – all BGrass in general. Umphreys is the same – but i have seen them a s*** ton by default. Everytime i leave as unsure as when i arrived! Bizaro!

  18. RRE – yes, i havent heard it yet but i am itching. As for Yonder i like their sound for about 30 mins then i need to move on – all BGrass in general. Umphreys is the same – but i have seen them a s*** ton by default. Everytime i leave as unsure as when i arrived! Bizaro!

  19. Yonder shreds cabbage into savory slaw.

    Glad to hear the Talking Heads cover helped you see the light.

    You shoudl hear them do Ozzy’s “Crazy Train.”

  20. Yonder shreds cabbage into savory slaw.

    Glad to hear the Talking Heads cover helped you see the light.

    You shoudl hear them do Ozzy’s “Crazy Train.”

Comments are closed.