For twenty years now, Yonder Mountain String Band has stretched the boundaries of bluegrass music, seamlessly melding the traditional bluegrass sound with a rock n’ roll and improvisational twist. The Colorado-based quintet’s unique sound has attracted an almost cult-like following, with fans eager to hear what musical journey the band will take them on next. The band’s innovative sound exudes love and emotion, reminding us all why we are here. The result, is an unbreakable bond that can only be understood by those who “get it.”
I had heard that we were in for a real treat which, admittedly, can sometimes lead to disappointment. That was not the case with these guys. The members of OSU come from very diverse musical backgrounds; and it shows in their musical style. One journalist likened them to a cross between Yonder and Old Crow Medicine Show – a comparison I whole-heartedly agree with. The energy onstage was infectious, as they blazed through a healthy mix of originals and covers.
Stand-out moments for me were “Hard Line,” an OSU original that had one cute little boy in suspenders dancing all over the place, “You Can Call Me Al” by Paul Simon, and Men at Work’s “Land Down Under.” They ended the set with “This is Where I Stand,” a high-octane song that electrified the entire crowd.
Old Salt Union’s self-titled album was released August of 2017. Visit their website to purchase the album, and be sure to check them out on Spotify.
Now that the audience was primed and ready to go, it was time to get down to business. Yonder Mountain String Band provided us with nearly two hours of bluegrass and a set that sent me on an emotional rollercoaster with all the feels. Between my friends and I, we ran through all the adjectives, trying to describe what it is that makes these guys so special. Their music tells an intimate story, one that is intense and painful, yet beautiful at the same time. One that makes your hair stand up and your ears peel back, all while an enormous smile is plastered on your face.
Fans were treated to Yonder originals “Pockets” and “Loved You Enough,” as well as an amazing “Saint in the City” sandwich that prominently exhibited why Yonder has earned so much respect in the music community. They sprinkled a few covers in throughout the night, with one in particular stealing the show. The band’s version of country classic “Jolene,” by Dolly Parton, featured a haunting instrumental opening, with Allie Kral at the mic. It was truly an otherworldly experience. One of the things I respect most about these guys is that they genuinely seem to enjoy and appreciate each other’s talents. They share the stage with grace and integrity, ensuring each member has their moment to shine. Their rendition of “Jolene” was peppered with solos, giving the original a run for its money.
I have a very eclectic musical palette. Live music has always been a passion of mine and I do everything I can to feed that fire. Because of this, however, I sometimes lose sight of what makes me the happiest – bluegrass. Bluegrass is my happy place. I’ve had life-changing moments, met some of my closest friends, and felt every emotion within the spectrum, all while musicians picked in the background. This music has helped me navigate through the ups and downs of life. And for that, I am grateful.
Loved You Enough
I’d Like Off
Chasing My Tail
Sister Golden Hair
Up For Brinkley’s
Saint in the City
Saint in the City
Encore: Boots of My Gal