Arts & Entertainment, The Muse

Yonder Mountain String Band: a band for the people

Bringing the full force of an electric band with just four string instruments, Yonder is able to whip audiences into a frenzy with their feverish and skillful musicianship, whether it be from Adam Ajiala’s guitar, Ben Chambers’ bass, Jeff Austin’s mandolin, Dave Johnston’s banjo or the combined force of all four of their voices singing.

The band’s success in winning over audiences has made them into a growing national act, playing at the prestigious Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Bonnaroo in Tennessee, Rothbury Music Festival in Michigan and celebrating the eighth annual Northwest String Summit in Oregon which they headline every year.

Building on eleven years of relentless touring, four studio albums and five live releases, Yonder’s newest album The Show, released on their own Frog Pad Records label September first, is a continuation of a long line of successful ventures.

‘We didn’t write anything to be put on an album,’ Aijala said in a phone interview with The MUSE. Aijala was born and raised just outside Worcester before relocating to Colorado, where the band formed. ‘What we originally thought was, let’s record a bunch of songs that aren’t on any records yet’hellip; we were really happy with the way they sounded and we decided to go with those and then wrote a couple songs in the studio.’

This combination of the familiar and the new produced a record that brings all of the elements that Yonder draws from to the forefront, from fast bluegrass to slow ballads all mixed together with great songwriting from all four members.

‘I think this album kind of follows the path we were on with our last record (2006’s self-titled release on Frog Pad Records),’ Aijala said. ‘We went in with the attitude of, ‘let’s pick up where we left off,’ and used some of the same techniques in recording such as drums and certain effects that we don’t use live.’

The momentum continues on The Show, with uptempo rock songs such as ‘Complicated’ and ‘Criminal’ mixing with come classic YMSB songwriting in the form of ‘Rain Still Falls’ and the laid back yet earnest ‘Belle Parker.’ All four members contributed songs and leave their mark throughout the album with polished solos and vocal harmonies, many of which will be extended and altered through the band’s eclectic and far-reaching live show.

It is the band’s live show that most often keeps fans coming back for more.’ Yonder is just as likely to pull out a never-before heard original song as they are to cover obscure traditional folk songs or the classic rock of Pink Floyd and The Rolling Stones, all with the innocence and reckless abandon of a group of people having the time of their life.

The packed summer festival schedule culminated in the band’s album release party, held Aug. 28 at the sold out Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado where they gave out free copies of The Show to everyone in attendance days before the actual release.’ The show clocked in at over three hours long with the band playing five songs off the new record, topping a wild summer of nonstop tours. Yonder then kicked off their fall tour Oct. 6th in Pennsylvania and will be returning to Boston Friday night at the House of Blues, almost a year to the day after their starring role at the Somerville Theatre last October.

The show will be another homecoming for Aijala, whose parents were in the audience for Yonder’s set last year.

‘ ‘Boston had seemed like one of those towns where we would never get large crowds, which kind of bummed me out because it was like my home town,’ Aijala said. ‘But last time we played there it sold out and we were really psyched about coming back.’

The Yonder Mountain String Band will bring their infectious brand of bluegrass to the House of Blues tomorrow, Friday, Oct.16.

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