Last week Yonder Mountain String Band announced they were
parting ways with mandolinist Jeff Austin. The other three members of the band will
continue on with guests until a new permanent lineup is unveiled in 2015. This morning
bassist Ben Kaufmann shared a note with the band's Kinfolk followers reflecting on the
week that's passed and discussing the future.
Kaufmann's note mentions that he'll soon head into the studio with the other two
remaining members of the group to record new songs and will be joined by other musicians.
Here's the full text of the note, which was posted on the group's Facebook page.
I’ve been enjoying this amazing Spring day here in California. I got to barrel-roll in the
grass with my son and just got him down for his nap. I want to thank everyone for their
notes and emails of support. It is wonderful to see people expressing love at any time but
never more so than during challenging times. As time has passed I have gotten to observe
just how deeply Yonder has been a part of people's lives. I’ve gotten to read reactions
that range from deeply positive to deeply negative and I read each one regardless of
content from a place of deepest respect for the individual. We have all, band and fans,
invested varying degrees of our being into the Yonder experience. We have sung and danced.
We have laughed and cried. We’ve shared our joy as babies are born and our grief when we
lose friends and loved ones. I believe that a change like this is experienced in the same
way that a child experiences a parents’ divorce, or indeed the passing away of someone
loved. We quite simply must acknowledge and honor all of our emotions during extraordinary
times and recognize their importance in what amounts to a healing process. We’ve shared
nearly 16 years of life together and are all now beginning a time of change. As unique
individuals we have to walk this road of change on our own feet, under our own power. But
isn’t it nice to see that we are not alone on our journey? What a community of beautiful
people you are. What joy wells up in my heart when I center in the present moment and
allow myself to simply feel it’s power. I’m moved quite literally to tears. It gives me a
chance to teach my son about tears of joy; what an amazing gift!
I center myself in the present moment and ask, what is it that I’m feeling now? What can I
share? And the overwhelming experience is a feeling of power being generated. Like a motor
being revved. I haven’t felt this sense of personal empowerment, at least not this quality
of it, ever before. I’m resonating with the energy that one feels standing at the
beginning of a grand journey. Music is my connection to the divine, in my personal
understanding of what that means. Through song and melody I attempt to make sense of
myself and the world. I share that music because I’m compelled to do so. I hope with every
new song that it can contribute something positive to the world, a contribution that can
manifest in so many ways. Some can begin the building of energy and encourage an audience
into a wonderful dancing frenzy. Some make us laugh. And on rare occasions, I have been
given the great honor of meeting people who say that a song saved their life, a particular
expression that we use for lack of other words. More impactful than the words is the look
in a person’s eyes as they say them. And, if nothing else, perhaps I write a song that
allows a concert-goer to take a much needed pee break mid-set. They can’t all be
Ferrari’s, after all.
Adam, Dave and I are gearing up for the studio and hitting the record button in mid-May.
Of course we’ll have other musicians joining us and I look forward to sharing the process
with you all. There are some great songs in the works. The rest of our touring year is
coming together, again enlisting the talents of some world class artists, faces familiar
and faces new. And here’s a promise to you all: Yonder will still put on the best party in
town. We will always embrace our progressive nature while honoring the history of this
music. We will still play with the purpose of building the energetic peaks that I feel are
the signature of any good Yonder show. I invite you all to join us as we walk into a brand
Love and Light,