Mountain Tracks, Vol. 3

Mountain Tracks, Vol. 3

by Yonder Mountain String Band
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Mountain Tracks, Vol. 3

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.

Product Details

Release Date: 09/14/2004
Label: Sci Fidelity Records
UPC: 0804663787922
catalogNumber: 79
Rank: 76626

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Yonder Mountain String Band   Primary Artist
Darol Anger   Fiddle,Guest Appearance
David Johnston   Banjo,Group Member
Adam Aijala   Guitar,Group Member
Ben Kaufmann   Bass,Group Member
Brittany Haas   Track Performer
Pastor Tim   Track Performer

Technical Credits

Bill Monroe   Composer
John Hartford   Composer
Willie Nelson   Composer
Traditional   Composer
Jeff Austin   Composer
Robert "Dandy" Thompson   Cover Photo
Benny Galloway   Composer
Ben Kaufmann   Composer
Bryce Wisdom   Artwork
Brad Burleson   Engineer
Sandy Walczak   Cover Photo

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Mountain Tracks, Vol. 3 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Playing Time – 55:25 (disc 1); 65:47 (disc 2)-- A large contingent of Yonder Mountain String Band fans were out in full force at Planet Bluegrass in Lyons, Colorado in September 2003 for the live recording of this 23-track album at Kinfolk Celebration 2003. The band’s distinctive jamgrass sound is supplemented with the expert fiddling of Darol Anger. Four tracks at the end of the 2-CD album also include Rashad Eggleston and Brittany Haas. Regular band members Jeff Austin (mandolin), Dave Johnston (banjo), Adam Aijala (guitar), and Ben Kaufmann (bass) all contribute original material to the band’s spirited repertoire. Besides material from Willie Nelson, John Hartford, and Bill Monroe, the band also covers four songs penned by songwriter Benny “Burl” Galloway. The lyrical messages of their original material are interesting. Their material is well-rehearsed and arranged. Not sticking to straight three-chord traditional progressions, YMSB punctuates and accentuates their music with a lot of excitement. The fun they have energizes their audiences. While quite a few of their songs fit the standard 3-4 minute timeframe ideal for radio airplay, it’s interesting to note that they also serve up eight songs that span anywhere from 6 to 10.5 minutes. Spread throughout their sets, these improvisational adventures take us on journeys that ebb and flow like an ocean’s tide. In fact, four songs on disc 1 (their first set) progress effortlessly as a medley that spans over 26 minutes. The crowd is left in a wild frenzy. The encore is John Hartford’s “Holding,” introduced with the advice, “if you’re holding, then don’t hold out” and accentuated with Anger’s pizzicato fiddle. Liner notes are remiss in not identifying who is singing on each song. Since day one, YMSB has held that their fans, the Kinfolk, are the cornerstone to their success. “Mountain Tracks: Volume 3” is a testament to their ability to incite a crowd to riotous support of acoustic jamgrass music. (Joe Ross, staff writer, Bluegrass Now)