It’s 2,500 miles from Yonder Mountain String Band’s appearance Thursday, July 18, at the All Good Music Festival & Camp Out in Thornville, Ohio to the group’s three headlining dates July 19-21 at the 12th annual Northwest String Summit at Horning’s Hideout in North Plains, Oregon.
The fest starts without them on July 18 with Greensky Bluegrass headlining.
In a recent interview YMSB guitarist/vocalist Adam Aijala could have paraphrased the Blues Brothers reasoning for the cross country trek – “We’re on a mission” – but he looks at the quartet’s touring history as road warriors for inspiration.
“It’ll be a hectic weekend but we’ve had it worse,” he said. “One time we played a show in Anchorage, Alaska and the next day in Lexington, Kentucky. That was rough.”
Yonder will be joined by a lineup that includes David Grisman Bluegrass Experience, Keller Williams and the Keels, Leftover Salmon, Black Prairie, Pimps of Joytime, Danny Barnes, Darol Anger, Deadly Gentlemen, Fruition, Shook Twins, Polecat, Milkdrive and Horse Feathers.
The Northwest String Summit hosts a roster of artists that span the depth of roots and Americana sounds. Yonder’s spot as headliner sums up a variety of influences.
Aijala elaborated on the Colorado-based act’s style. “We always like to say it’s just Yonder Mountain music. However, I ultimately believe we are a bluegrass band, though an offshoot of what most might consider standard. I always liked [being called] alt bluegrass or progressive bluegrass. I mean, we’re four guys mostly influenced by rock that are playing songs through bluegrass instruments. Even the most hardcore trad bluegrass fan has to admit that we’re at least a branch on the bluegrass tree.”
Settled in at Horning’s Hideout for three days should put YMSB in a mood to give fans maximum jams as well as dig deep into cover versions. Besides original, the group has given its taken on songs by the Beatles, Talking Heads, Pink Floyd and Bob Dylan.
Aijala explained how a number goes from rehearsal to the stage. “We generally look for more obscure songs and there’s really no template. I also can’t think of a time when someone brought in a cover and we didn’t play it at least once.
“Sometimes, you need to play it on stage to see if it “works”. I’ll use “Gut Feeling” by Devo as an example since it’s one of the more recent songs we’ve been covering. Devo is a well known band but the song is not. It’s a great chord progression and Jeff [Austin] does a great job on the vocals. Good enough for Yonder.”
This year’s Northwest String Summit will offer over 40 hours of live streams during the festival. Weekend or daily passes are available. To sign up or for more information, visit http://www.stumptownbliss.net/2013-northwest-string-summit-list.
For more information on Northwest String Summit, visit http://www.stringsummit.com.