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Yonder Mountain, 10 years in

LESLIE BREFELD
Summit Daily News
Summit County, CO
Special to the Daily
ALL |

After 10 years as a band, Yonder Mountain String Band’s Adam Aijala said there are less boundaries for the music.

Begun as a bluegrass band, he said with their current established place in music, they (himself, Jeff Austin, Ben Kaufmann and Dave Johnston) are not afraid to write and play covers of tunes that aren’t necessarily “grass,” sometimes going for a fuller sound, or rock feel.

They’ve also graduated from the more laborious aspect of touring.



“We went through a whole stage of setting up and breaking down our gear every night and then driving to the next show,” Aijala said. They now have a bus driver and help with the equipment.

They’ve also managed to stay close friends.



“Just from hearing the stories from other bands we know, we get along really well,” Aijala said. “I’ve known people 10 to 15 years longer, but know them (the band members) better.”

“We’re like brothers. Brothers fight, but not with mean intent. There are way more good times than bad,” he said.

The Nederland-based Yonder Mountain String Band has recently released its fifth live album, “Mountain Tracks: Volume 5” and will play in Boulder and Morrison this weekend.

All of the guys in Yonder were in their 20s when they got together and jammed at an open mic near Boulder for the first time in 1998. They followed the feel-good sound that came out, and according to Aijala, had a defining moment as a band at a gig in 2000.

The audio wires were acting strangely, creating static at random times in their set. According to Aijala, Jeff Austin started improvising about the “ghost in the machine.”

“It was the first time we actually went somewhere on stage. We didn’t practice, we didn’t think about it, we just went there,” Aijala said.

“It took faulty equipment to make us realize. … To vary from what you know and play on stage can be intimidating. It’s really about having trust in your bandmates.”

And it’s not just on stage that Yonder has capitalized on what happens when the four jam with an open mind.

With a new album in the works, Aijala said they want to keep on the roll they began on their last (self-titled) studio album.

“Six tracks out of 12, we wrote in the studio that came from nothing,” he said. “I think we want to keep that same mindset.”

“Mountain Tracks: Volume 5” features two discs: one compiles selected live recordings from 2004-2007, the other is the summer 2007 recording of the Columbus, Ohio, Lifestyle Communities Pavilion show.

Yonder Mountain String Band plays Saturday at Red Rocks with opener Keller Williams. Don’t expect to hear the same songs they played at last year’s Labor Day show “according to Aijala, the band never plays the same set twice.

Leslie Brefeld can be reached at (970) 668-4626 or lbrefeld@summitdaily.com.

– What: Plays Red Rocks with Keller Williams

– When: Saturday, Aug. 2

– Note: Yonder will play tonight at the Boulder Theater. Tickets are on sale for this show only as a two-day package with Red Rocks show.


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