YMSB | 06.11.08 | Connecticut

Words & Images by Jesse R. Borrell

Yonder Mountain String Band :: 06.11.08 :: Ridgefield Playhouse :: Ridgefield, CT

Dave Johnston - YMSB :: 06.11 :: Ridgefield, CT
With a seating capacity of just under 500, a performance at the Ridgefield Playhouse can be a very intimate experience. Just as their summer tour is in the beginning stages, Yonder Mountain String Band returned to the lush landscapes of New England for a second year in a row.

As with most Yonder shows, the first songs were short and sweet with much stage banter in between. "Sideshow Blues" showcased Adam Aijala's guitar prowess, sliding up and down the neck with effortless and free flowing grace during the show's first solo. Jeff Austin (mandolin) gave the crowd its first laugh when he furiously ad-libbed the lyrics, "While I'm out in this tent with these freaks and musicians/ I'm moaning them Sideshow Blues!/ All of you freaks!/ That's right, all of you!"

Performing gems like "Cooked Hitch" and "Belle Parker," the guys used the beginning of the set to warm up their chops and to get the crowd acquainted with their unique form of freestyle jamgrass. After a brief introduction to the song's background, Ben Kaufmann started "My Gal" a cappella while perched next to his stand-up bass. Between every verse, the guys would slowly build upon the song's structure by adding each of their instruments at key moments to emphasize a slow progression. As each man took time to individually shine, it seemed they came together to complete the whole song seamlessly.

In usual Yonder fashion, the ending of the first set was by far the most impressive. A smooth transition from well-structured instrumental "Elzic's Farewell" into "Dawn's Early Light" showcased how easily the audience could be lured in by Austin's storytelling. As the story of murder and revenge unfolded, the crowd seemed to give their legs a rest in order to listen intently:

They flipped a coin. Down to their fate decide
Which one would come and murder me?
By the dawn's early light, oh, I'm gonna saddle up and ride
By the dawn's early light, ride through the night

Ben Kaufmann - YMSB :: 06.11 :: Ridgefield, CT
As "Dawn's Early Light" transitioned into "Freeborn Man," our bodies were lifted out of their trance-like state and we were off to the races once again.

The second set started with "Lord Only Knows," a heartfelt song that reiterates one of YMSB's basic ideals: life as a journey. Dave Johnston, with precise picking on his Mastertone banjo, took the lead as they manically transitioned into a similarly themed "Rambler's Anthem." The reggae-influenced "Two Hits and The Joint Turned Brown" turned the tables on the audience, emphasizing slow, emphatic grooves in contrast with the usual fast-paced tempos. As Kaufmann took the reins for an extended dub bass solo, the journey somehow segued into "If There's Still Ramblin' In A Rambler (Let Him Go)." With smirks upon their faces, the boys had their intentions set on a shared drink and some words of advice.

He'll break your heart in two, and after that he still ain't through
If there's still ramblin' in the rambler let him go
Wonderin' if the car is wrecked, if he's dead or not
He'll meet you at the ballet after just one more Jagermeister shot!

During "Looking Back Over My Shoulder," the standing room in the front of the stage seemed to get a little more crowded. In most cases this could be viewed as a bad thing, but as you looked around most of the Yonder-folk were familiar with the lyrics and had wide, infectious smiles to match their gyrating bodies.

Jeff Austin - YMSB :: 06.11 :: Ridgefield, CT
"Wind's On Fire" gave the venue some breathing room as it slowly beckoned within Johnston's drawl and Aijala's delicate fingerpicking. "Angel" featured some new technology that has recently graced Yonder's stage show: tonal effects. In the middle of the song, Austin flicked a switch and his mandolin suddenly emanated with a thick buzz. With some added heaviness, Austin emerged as if he was on some hellish mission from below, rocking back and forth in a feverish manner as if to save those poor souls who lay before him.

As the familiar licks of "Traffic Jam" began, all hell broke loose. At one point, the jam fell to the floor and was caught by the rhythmic clapping of the crowd, only to rebuild itself to a peak with a quick construction of layers. It was as if there was no stopping the roaring train before us, even though we may have heard it all before.

There is something about just being part of the light at a Yonder show. There is something about the music that just reaches within you and brings the best parts out. I sure hope they come again next year for another round of straight YMSB business.

06.11.08 :: Ridgefield Playhouse :: Ridgefield, CT
Set 1: Sideshow Blues, Fun Time, Idaho, Crooked Hitch, Belle Parker, You're No Good, Free To Run, My Gal, Fastball, Classic Situation, Things You're Selling, Elzic's Farewell > Dawn's Early Light > Freeborn Man
Set 2: Lord Only Knows > Rambler's Anthem > Two Hits and The Joint Turned Brown > If There's Still Ramblin' In A Rambler (Let Him Go), Lord Only Knows, New Deal Train, Half Moon Rising, Another Day, Looking Back Over My Shoulder, Wind's On Fire, Angel, Traffic Jam > No Expectations > Traffic Jam
Encore: Going Up, Old Plank Road

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[Published on: 6/27/08]

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ao1 starstarstarstarstar Fri 6/27/2008 03:35PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Can't wait for yonder at rothbury........Love freeborn man and half moon rising

JenkemJay Fri 6/27/2008 03:56PM
Show -7 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
MarkBC Fri 6/27/2008 03:56PM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Hey I was here! Fuckin amazing show, I was suffering from the terrible effects of Lyme's disease but the boys furious and energetic jamming got me dancing and moving! I called Lord Only Knows and Half Moon Rising (there was a half moon over Ridgefield that night!!) during the second set I LOVE when that happens don't you? The magic of live music!

Best part about this venue? I had terrible seats, but upon entering I just walked to the front row AND NO ONE SAID A THING! We were quickly surrounded by every one who realized the same thing, the Playhouse ROCKS! Oh and also, THEY LET YOU BACK TO YOUR CAR during the show!

kullerpanic starstarstar Fri 6/27/2008 05:44PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

These Boys are the heat! Saw em last night at The Norva and the show was pretty smokin. 2 things(and I know this is a stretch) but has anyone else noticed the huge All Good sized hole in Yonders tour schedule? Also I am looking to download some more YMSB and wanted suggestions about best/favorite shows.

P.S. Happy WSP day!


Carini83 starstarstarstar Fri 6/27/2008 06:03PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


man yonder is the shit, ive only seen them once for new years 06' but they ripped it up

MoeString starstarstarstarstar Fri 6/27/2008 10:42PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


decent review.

Ill see em in like 4 days at the Murat. and rothbury.

Love these guys.


*listen to john hartford*

kaiserbun starstarstarstar Sat 6/28/2008 05:09AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

always a fun show, this one looks like a good setlist as well. jeff austin's constant talking drives me nuts sometimes though. its not so bad when your at the show, but really annoying on the tapes.

fnghhhh starstarstarstarstar Sat 6/28/2008 05:53AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

^^ no i disagree. i think it's refreshing. who else does that? thats one of the reasons they are so great live.

also, that second set is FIRE

Muffinman1 Sat 6/28/2008 07:47AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


I know I'll catch some heat for this but, I think Dave Matthews is pretty funny in between songs.

JonSoda starstarstarstarstar Sat 6/28/2008 08:41AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


I think Dave Matthews holds his guitar pretty funny.

JonSoda starstarstarstarstar Sat 6/28/2008 08:41AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Railroad Earth to open for YMSB July 1st @ Summerfest cannot get much better than that.

C00lmike Sat 6/28/2008 10:19AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Hell Yeah Jeff...GO CUBBIES! Also, can't wait for summerfest/rothbury with these guys..always a party

branagin starstarstarstarstar Sat 6/28/2008 11:28AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Love the fact the first paragraph was about a song that come from one of the greatest singer/songerwriters of our time TODD SNIDER. Yonder covers it perfectly, cover more todd...

jerryskid315 Sat 6/28/2008 11:59AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


I saw them last night in Cary, NC. They closed the show with an absolutely rockin' Bertha with Keller.

Bryan24 Sat 6/28/2008 01:39PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


kullerpanic theres some really good shows to d/l such as the show from stl this year in like february was awesome. the first set was one of the best sets i've ever seen.

kandrokitis starstarstarstarstar Sat 6/28/2008 02:52PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


saw them back on the 13th again. it was killer. definitely one of the top 5 shows i've ever been to. if you haven't seen these guys, get on it. definitely one of the top live acts of today and such great musicians.

BobbyShortcutShows Sat 6/28/2008 03:47PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


actually dave is funny when hes not super drunk and when he is he says silly things. go back and listen to dave and tim shows in 93 & 94

stringche101 Sat 6/28/2008 04:20PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


yonder rips it up! ive never gotten a freeborn man from them, and man do i want one. But best yonder show ive ever seen and heard was there 1000th show in Des Moines. If you havent heard it, that second set is really UNBELIEVEABLE! check it out

torn&treyed Sat 6/28/2008 06:46PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

the effects have been a long time coming...... will help them step up their game

Mark Price former NBA star starstarstarstarstar Sun 6/29/2008 12:02AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Mark Price former NBA star

Hears the FACT YONDER FUCKIN RULES...thats all that needs to be said...even the shows they consider bad, us real YONDER fans find AMAZING...YONDER IS THE SHIT

trpnbily87 starstar Sun 6/29/2008 03:43AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Jeff speak: Agree that its fine and dandy in person but not as great later on tape. Ive been making mix discs of Ben Kaufmann songs and editing out a lot of the between song banter.

Somedays Reunion!

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^› {¬¿¬} starstarstarstarstar Mon 6/30/2008 04:37AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^›      {¬¿¬}

this band needs to stop in chattanooga tennessee, and quit passing us by!!!!!

GeorgieP Mon 6/30/2008 07:25AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Damn, that set list is off the hook. I've never once been disappointed by these guys.

bow3599 Mon 6/30/2008 08:51AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


i was also in cary, and the talking head's cover of girlfriend is better with keller blew the house down, these guys are better than ever

benraved Mon 6/30/2008 01:37PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Summit this month will offer yonder at a different level. Anyone who hasnt been to the Northwest string summit is missing out on the best showcase of Yonder out there.

blackheel Mon 6/30/2008 03:37PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Is this available anywhere for download? Checked archive, but not there yet. Anyone know if there were tapers there? This is a ridiculous setlist. Got to have it!!!

if rhymes were valiums... Mon 6/30/2008 08:17PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

if rhymes were valiums...

blackheel ->

did not see any tapers during the show... it was a heck of a good time though, until next time

data starstarstar Mon 6/30/2008 09:43PM
-2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

I keep waiting for them to flail like Phish after 98. But they keep getting better. Lame review though.

BooneRes Wed 7/2/2008 08:51AM
-2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Or maybe you should move Chatanooga Milesdouche cause really, who the fuck stops in that shithole? Yeah your riverbend festival but other than that nobody, and if its full of people like youI understand why that is.

pbandJAM7 Thu 7/3/2008 11:59AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

who, whoa , whoa... lets not be hatin' on chattanooga or miles. shit man.

p.s. yonder fucking rules!!!

MyFavBandIsTheBestYoursSucks starstarstarstarstar Mon 7/7/2008 01:15PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Saw these guys this weekend in Des Moines. GREAT SHOW! its been awhile, I need to catch them more often.

Tranceful-delite is like many message board trash talkers, they like to mix things up on message boards because they dont have the balls to confront people in the real world. So sad.