Yonder Mountain String Band
One Cannery Row
Nashville, TN, 37203
Doors 7:00 PM / Show 8:00 PM
This event is 18 and over
Yonder Mountain String Band
Yonder Mountain String Band’s first new album in two years, LOVE. AIN’T LOVE is undeniably the Colorado-based progressive bluegrass outfit’s most surprising, creative, and yes, energetic studio excursion to date. Songs like “Chasing My Tail” and “Alison” are rooted in tradition but as current as tomorrow, animated by electrifying performance, vivid production, and the modernist power that has made Yonder one of the most popular live bands of their generation. Melding sophisticated songcraft, irrepressible spirit, and remarkable instrumental ability, LOVE. AIN’T LOVE is a testament to Yonder Mountain String Band’s organic, dynamic, and intensely personal brand of contemporary bluegrass-fueled Americana.
“I think this is our best album yet,” says Adam Aijala, guitarist.
Yonder founding members Aijala, banjo player Dave Johnston, and bassist Ben Kaufmann reconfigured Yonder Mountain String Band as a traditional bluegrass instrumental five-piece in 2014 with the recruitment of new players Allie Kral (violin) and Jacob Jolliff (mandolin). The reconstituted group debuted with 2015’s acclaimed BLACK SHEEP, but truly gelled as they toured, the new players’ personalities seamlessly blending and elevating the intrinsically tight Yonder sound. Yonder made certain to show off the current roster’s growing strength with the 2017 release of MOUNTAIN TRACKS: VOLUME 6, the first installment in their hugely popular live recording series since 2008.
“This lineup just keeps getting better,” Aijala says. “The more gigs you get under your belt, the better you get. Obviously. But the confidence I have in these individual musicians, I’m amazed at some of the places we go together on stage.”
LOVE. AIN’T LOVE is produced by Yonder Mountain String Band and longtime collaborator John McVey, with the majority of the album recorded at Coupe Studios in Yonder’s home base of Boulder, CO. Aijala and McVey handled all of the album’s mix and engineering at their respective home studios and while Yonder was on the road – the second time a Yonder member has taken on the technical task.
“John taught me a lot when we worked together on our last album,” Aijala says. “So this time around, I felt a lot more confident.”
Like virtually all aspects of Yonder Mountain String Band’s unlikely artistic methodology, LOVE. AIN’T LOVE is a fully collaborative effort, its original songs credited to the core founding trio of Aijala, Johnston, and Kaufmann, regardless of combination or specific input.
“I think it removes the jockeying for songs on a record,” says Aijala. “We’re all of the mind that even if one of us wrote a great song, if not for Yonder, would anyone get a chance to hear it? It works better this way. All three of us grew up playing team sports so we’re team players – everyone wants what’s best for the band.”
Laced with interstitial dialogue, music, sound effects, and other overlapping ephemera, LOVE. AIN’T LOVE is by design Yonder’s most ingenious studio collection thus far. Songs like “Take A Chance On Me” and the heavy metal-inspired breakdown, “Fall Outta Line,” see the quintet touching upon FM pop, country rock, funk, world music, and so much more; adopting traditional sonic and lyrical idioms to mask deeper and darker personal truths.
“It’s a little more eclectic,” Aijala says. “None of us grew up with bluegrass so there are always other influences in there. I think this record is a bit more reminiscent of our live show, with different genres and different types of songs.”
Indeed, “Last of the Railroad Men” plays like a lost narrative country classic while the unprecedented “Groovin’ Away” closes LOVE. AIN’T LOVE with a summery sense of joyous optimism. Yonder’s first-ever original reggae song, the track stands out as yet another shining example of the band’s lifelong commitment to anything-goes artistic freedom.
“There are no limits to what we do” says Aijala. “We’ll try anything, if it feels good, we’ll try it again.”
In addition to the founding trio’s songwriting efforts, Jolliff – who arrived to play on BLACK SHEEP sessions and never left – contributed a pair of fiery instrumentals and also lends vocals to a delightful cover of King Harvest’s eternal “Dancing In The Moonlight.”
“Allie sang a song that we wrote on BLACK SHEEP,” Aijala says, “so we wanted to showcase Jake’s vocals on this album. We’ve been playing ‘Dancing in the Moonlight’ in our live shows and whenever we play it people just light up. We always enjoy playing it, the harmonies are really good and Jake sings the hell out of it so we thought, why not put it on the record?”
2017 will see Yonder continue its seemingly endless touring, leading towards next year’s 20th anniversary of their initial coming together, an irrefutably momentous occasion.
“When we were first starting, our creativity was rooted in rebelliousness. Now, there’s a greater conscious awareness and attention to detail that we’re bringing to our writing and recording. Our nature and instincts remain progressive. We’re just doing it in a way that’s sharper, more musical, and way more satisfying,” says Ben Kaufmann.
With its melodic flair, expert technique, and forward-thinking fervor, LOVE. AIN’T LOVE is a strikingly assured and well-crafted manifestation of Yonder’s matchless musical vision. Nearly two decades in, Yonder Mountain String Band is still utterly unto themselves, a one-of-a-kind, once-in-a-lifetime combo whose inventiveness, versatility, and sheer imagination shows no sign of winding down.
“We’ve talked about this,” Aijala says, “and we all feel like we could play in Yonder until we can’t play anymore. As long we still have new ideas, as long as we’re still creating something that’s fresh to us, I don’t see any reason to stop.”
Life’s trials and tribulations are a preparatory course of sorts, a journey of peaks and valleys on a long and winding road, and through the flames of adversity rises a phoenix. On May 21, 2016, Anna Moss and Joel Ludford, the duo of multi-instrumentalists that comprise Handmade Moments, were riding along a different road of sorts. On that fateful afternoon in Northern California, their beloved bio-diesel bus- that they spent six months laboring to build, and lived, toured and gigged in for nearly a year- was struck by two vehicles in a harrowing head-on collision. The resulting wreck required a Medivac for Ludford, who was severely injured from the waist down. He spent a month in the hospital, three more in a wheelchair. Moss herself had a concussion, two other passengers were injured as well, and all four called themselves lucky to be alive.
Up until that point, Handmade Moments was patiently making their way in the music world, products of a fertile art scene in Fayetteville, Arkansas, where they’d amassed a fervent and enthusiastic following. Born from the ashes of the rock band Don’t Stop Please, in 2014 the quirky, jazzy crew released a self titled debut Handmade Moments. A series of tours followed, and the prolific pair won hearts beyond the Ozarks, with that came 2015’s critically acclaimed Eye in the Sky. The hip-hop folk-roots group was gigging their way from Coast to Coast, and soon went international, venturing to South America, where they planted firm roots in Argentina. Their story seemed to be going along swimmingly, until one day, it wasn’t. Their home, vehicle, instruments, just about everything Moss and Ludford had worked so hard for- was destroyed, in merely an instant. But apparent from the moment Moss returned home from the hospital and began writing a song, the calamity had not extinguished their spirits. The ultimate reality check had arrived in death-defying fashion, and they’d live to sing the tale.
Ludford and Moss retreated into the nurturing bosom of Nevada City, CA area to recover, and begin the healing process the only way they knew how, through music. Over the next three months, these meditations and ruminations fueled the writing, recording, and realization of Paw Paw Tree, their third full length LP and Jumpsuit Records debut. That reclamation comes on May 21, 2018, as Moss and Ludford return weathered, stronger, and wiser for the time; two years to the day from the accident, emerging a bolstered and emboldened Handmade Moments. The diverse collection of songs is riveting from start to finish, an amalgam of their rock and jazz past, juxtaposed with Southern roots and folk DNA, scrambled together and evolved into the current continuum that reveals Paw Paw Tree.
Ornate instrumentation details the bedrock of their simple yet sophisticated songcraft, and endearing, intoxicating personality. Handmade Moments’ piercing lyricism and carousing croon both tell their own inspirational tale, and encompass larger themes that resonate within us all. This musical document unveils a myriad of tones, from walking upright bass to silky saxophone; it embodies an intelligent, progressive culture and celebrates a simple way of life. “Fighting a Mountain” imagines a friend stranded in raging waters, but you are unable to help, restrained by physical barriers. The title track envisions a post-apocalyptic world with desert farms, a pointed statement against input-reliant agriculture and rallying cry to restore the ecosystem. “Junkie” is not your typical lover’s lament, and uses muse and real life metaphor to emphasize emotions that know no bounds, until they are no more. Paw Paw Tree is filled with lyrical life lessons, statements on the state the union, and examinations of those fragile, human elements that define each and every one of us.
B.Getz- upful LIFE
$25.00 - $30.00
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