Yonder Mountain String Band / Greensky Bluegrass
|Friday, August 21, 2015
AEG Live is excited to announce YONDER MOUNTAIN STRING BAND & GREENSKY BLUEGRASS live at Red Rocks Amphitheatre Friday, August 21, 2015.
For nearly 17 years, Yonder Mountain String Band has redefined bluegrass music, expanding the traditional acoustic genre beyond its previously established boundaries by steadily pushing the envelope into the realms of rock n’ roll and improvisation. YMSB has always played music of their own design, in the process attracting a devout coterie of fans that often resembles a tight knit family on an epic musical journey as Yonder traverses the country with an ever-rigorous tour schedule. Yonder is a quintessential ensemble honing its craft night after night on the road, and the fans are there to experience it in real time. The result is music that doesn’t stand still, it’s always progressing and breaking unprecedented ground.
With their latest album, Black Sheep (scheduled for national release on their own Frog Pad Records at Telluride Bluegrass Festival on June 16, 2015), Yonder Mountain String Band — Adam Aijala (guitar, vocals), Dave Johnston (banjo, vocals) and Ben Kaufmann (bass, vocals) — begins a new era. The first YMSB release produced by the band itself, Black Sheep is, by any measure, a triumph, perhaps the most mesmeric of their career. For the recording, their sixth studio album overall, Yonder has recruited two standout musicians to join them in the studio (and, subsequently, on the road), violinist Allie Kral and mandolin virtuoso Jacob Jolliff. The result, says Kaufmann, is that, “This record sounds more like Yonder than any record we’ve ever done. I’m hoping that when people are finished listening to it, they’ll just effortlessly hit play and listen to it again.”
With the band’s 17th anniversary coming this summer, and an extensive tour schedule featuring the same quintet on Black Sheep, a revitalized Yonder Mountain takes delight in the fact that they are still reaching new fans while simultaneously retaining the characteristics that brought their greater community together in the first place. The loss of one member and the subsequent invitation for some of today’s top pickers to help shape their evolving sound brings intriguing opportunities to the table; ones that set YMSB on its newfangled path. Black Sheep is a bold statement, meant to passionately get fans up on their feet and ecstatically dancing, but it’s also about embracing the moment. Essential changes are a healthy step in keeping the music alive and well.
YMSB will celebrate the national release of Black Sheep at the 42nd Telluride Bluegrass Festival (June 18 – 21, 2015), and headlines a special hometown show at Red Rocks Amphitheatre along with Greensky Bluegrass and Fruition on August 21, 2015.
From these seemingly irreconcilable elements, the five members of Greensky Bluegrass have forged a defiant, powerful sound that, while rooted in classic stringband Americana, extends outwards with a fearless, exploratory zeal. The tension and release between these components – tradition and innovation, prearranged songs and improvisation, acoustic tones and electric volume – is what makes them so thrillingly dynamic, in concert and on record. “In theory,” Hoffman explains, “greensky is the complete opposite of bluegrass. So, by definition, we are contrasting everything that isn’t bluegrass with everything that is.”
“There’s this great duality to our band,” reflects Greensky Bluegrass mandolinist, vocalist, and songwriter Paul Hoffman. “We’re existing in a few different places at once: we’re a bluegrass band and a rock band, we’re song-driven and interested in extended improvisation.”
“We play acoustic instruments,” adds dobro player Anders Beck, “but we put on a rock’n’roll show. We play in bigger clubs and theaters, there’s a killer light show, and we’re as loud as your favorite rock band. It’s not easy to make five acoustic instruments sound like this – it’s something we’ve spent years working on.”
That their sound is so seamless, so organic, is testament to Greensky’s enduring vision and tireless dedication. Since their first rumblings at the start of the millennium, they have emerged as relentless road warriors, creating a captivating live show while at the same time developing a knack for evocative, disarming songcraft.
Their fifth studio album, If Sorrows Swim – available September 9, 2014 and distributed by Thirty Tigers – is their most riveting yet, balancing gripping songs (by Hoffman and guitarist Dave Bruzza) and remarkably thoughtful, tight arrangements with an instrumental fluidity born of countless hours playing together – on stage and off.
From their unlikely base of Kalamazoo, Michigan (home of the original Gibson Mandolin-Guitar factory), Greensky – which also includes banjoist Michael Arlen Bont and bassist Michael Devol – arrived at their unique take on the bluegrass tradition by working from the outside inward. “I found bluegrass through the back door,” Beck says, “through the Jerry Garcia route. That’s how I got to listening to Bill Monroe and Earl Scruggs. It’s really interesting how many people in our generation got into acoustic music through that channel.”
PURCHASE TICKETS ONLINE AT WWW.AXS.COM OR CHARGE TICKETS BY PHONE, CALL 888.929.7849.
Tickets to this show are available at the box office of the Denver Coliseum from 11 am – 3 pm every Saturday.
General Admission and Reserved tickets are $38.95 – $44.95 plus applicable service charges. All ages are welcome.
ASL Interpreters available upon request by contacting 720-865-2494 or firstname.lastname@example.org