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Mountain Tracks, Vol. 3 (Live)

Yonder Mountain String Band

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Album Review

This double-disc set collects the highlights from a two-night concert by the Yonder Mountain String Band held at Planet Bluegrass in Lyons, CO, on September 12 and 13, 2003, at the Kinfolk Celebration the band throws each year for its fans. A bluegrass/jam band hybrid, Yonder Mountain is certain proof that the two genres have as many similarities as differences. Both favor virtuoso musicianship and group dynamics over song structure, with the song becoming simply the springboard to long, soaring breaks. It should come as no surprise, then, that the best songs here are covers (Willie Nelson's "Bloody Mary Morning" and John Hartford's neo-hippie anthem "Holding" on disc one, and two traditional pieces on disc two, "Little Rabbit" and "Old Plank Road"), while the group's originals seem rather interchangeable. YMSB occupies the same sort of goofy universe that Phish does, and when you're among the converted, it's magical, and when you're one of the unconvinced, it's baffling. Putting all that aside, though, these guys are amazing musicians, and the frenetic bluegrass pace of their sets, coupled with the hard left turns into surprising new musical territory, means that while Yonder Mountain may be silly sometimes, they're seldom dull. The conclusion of the second show finds fiddler Darol Anger joining the group for an amazing modal suite that segues Bill Monroe's "Kentucky Mandolin" into a group original called "Peace of Mind," then into another original, "Snow on the Pines," before emerging again into a reprise of "Peace of Mind," all done with kinetic precision and a sound that is completely unique (industrial Appalachian chamber jazz-folk?). It's easy to see why their fan base continues to grow. And how can you fail to smile at a band that ends Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" (a hidden track at the end of the first disc) with a 30-second blast of the theme to the TV show Three's Company? The Yonder Mountain String Band creates a milieu in which such a transition makes perfect sense.

Customer Reviews

If you like feeling alive...

then this album is absolutely for you. The thrill of YMSB is their tight musicianship and dynamic jams. Take Nickel Creek and Phish and The Dead, mix em all together and put them in a relaxed environment like, say your living room or a back porch somewhere outside Asheville. Give em some beers and a few eager listeners, and these guys will play their hearts out for you and for the music. Listen to Steep Grade, Bloody Mary Morning, and Old Plank Road in order to get a feel for their sound. Best enjoyed while chillin.

i just love this

wow this is a good album....but then again its ymsb so of course it is. if you havent already, you should buy this..now...

awsome show!

this is a great album, i wish i had been at the show. the cover of ring of fire at the end of the first set is awsome. too cool!

Biography

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...
Full Bio