Yonder Mountain String Band

Although the Yonder Mountain String Band was formed in Nederland, CO, its origins go back to Urbana, IL, where college student and banjo player Dave Johnston met mandolin player Jeff Austin. Austin moved west and settled in Nederland. Johnston joined him there, and the two met bass player Ben Kaufmann and guitarist Adam Aijala at a club called the Verve. In December 1998, they formed the Yonder Mountain String Band to open for a band at the Fox Theatre in Boulder.
They developed a following among bluegrass fans and also among jam band fans as they played extensively and worked their way up the bar and club circuit in the West. In the fall of 1999, they released their debut album, Elevation, on their own Frog Pad Records label. By the fall of 2000, they were playing in larger venues, such as the Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco. They released a live recording as their second album, Mountain Tracks, Vol. 1, in the spring of 2001, and followed with another studio set, Town By Town, in the fall of 2001. A second live album, Mountain Tracks, Vol. 2, was released in 2002, again followed by a studio effort, Old Hands, in 2003. Mountain Tracks, Vol. 3, a double disc live set, appeared in 2004. If Yonder Mountain String Band's fourth studio album marks the first time they've added a little drums to their mix of banjo, bass, mandolin and guitar and it's the first time they've written almost an entire album spontaneously. Previously, guitarist Adam Aijala, mandolinist Jeff Austin, banjo player Dave Johnston and bassist Ben Kaufmann would each show up to the studio with their own songs, or songs that had already been worked up on the road. But with Rothrock behind the boards, they sat around and came up with songs that stirred the band's creative juices in a new way. "It definitely was the challenge that was ready to be taken on," says Austin. "For me, it was a very necessary step that the band had to take, just because we've always been about letting ourselves experiment to the full width of the spectrum. It was a part of us that was just dying to come out." Under Rothrock's leadership, Aijala added electric guitar to the album, while Austin, milked an old '70s amplifier for feedback with an acoustic mandolin. Ambient noise accompanies the disc-ending " "[This album] probably represents us more than any other record we've done," states Aijala, "because it incorporates more of our musical influences than ever before. It's a really cool thing to be a part of and I'll never take for granted just how lucky we are to do what we do. It makes me more excited for the future."