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Mountain Tracks: Volume 5

Yonder Mountain String Band

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Album Review

Yonder Mountain String Band have made a practice of releasing at least one live album in their Mountain Tracks series for every studio release, and are now up to five concert collections against four studio sets. The group has managed to come up with different concepts for the live discs, perhaps in an attempt to keep ahead of the tapers who record their shows and trade with others. For Mountain Tracks, Vol. 5, a two-CD set, the bandmembers have taken different tacks for each disc. Disc one is an anthology of previously unreleased performances drawn from the period 2004-2007, sequenced and edited to provide the illusion of a single show. Disc two really is a single show, recorded on July 21, 2007. In practice, the two CDs taken together have an effect not unlike seeing Yonder Mountain String Band on an evening when they played an early set and a late set, or did a long concert with an intermission. The first set contains more concise songs, played in tighter arrangements. The second set is the looser one in which the bandmembers stretch out, worrying less about getting every note correct and more about musical exploration and feel. In both sets, the players' enthusiasm is contagious and their interplay creates a band effect that goes beyond the individual virtuosity of any one musician. At a time of diminishing record sales, when albums are becoming, more than ever before, souvenirs and calling cards for artists' live shows, Yonder Mountain String Band don't seem to have too much to worry about if their fans can depend on hearing shows as impressive as the ones documented here.


Formed: 1998 in Nederland, CO

Genre: Country

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Fusing bluegrass with elements of rock, progressive, and improvisational music, the Yonder Mountain String Band have become one of the most celebrated acts on the acoustic music scene, thanks to the group's inventive style and busy touring schedule. The group's story began in Urbana, Illinois, where Dave Johnston, a student at the University of Illinois, met fellow student Jeff Austin. Johnston played banjo in a local acoustic band called the Bluegrassholes, and when he learned Austin was a novice...
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