YMSB | 02.01.07 | AUSTIN, TX

Words by: Adam Kaye :: Images by: Robbie Friedman

Yonder Mountain String Band :: 02.01.07 :: La Zona Rosa :: Austin, TX

Adam Aijala :: 02.01 :: Austin, TX
Last week, Yonder Mountain String Band began their annual Cabin Fever Tour with a swing through Texas, beginning with a great show at Austin's La Zona Rosa. It had been three months since the end of the band's last tour - not counting three nights at Denver's Fillmore Auditorium for New Year's Eve - and both the band and the crowd seemed to take a little longer than usual to hit their strides.

The first set began with a couple tracks off the band's new self-titled CD, "Sidewalk Stars" and "I Ain't Been Myself In Years." It's obvious the band is proud of this latest effort, and they included a good number of the new tracks throughout the show. In addition to hosting great parties all across the country, they're also looking to move those discs. All the talk has been about the addition of drums to the mix [on the CD, not the stage] but the songwriting is good too and it holds together nicely.

Opening with new tunes didn't produce immediate musical eruptions for which the band is famous, but it did give the band a chance to warm up and the audience a few extra minutes to settle in. Jeff Austin's voice and mandolin sounded great from the first note, but I suspect you could splash cold water on his face in the middle of a deep REM cycle and put the instrument in his hands, and he'd be ready to wail before you set the bucket down. Ben Kaufmann on bass and vocals really anchors the band. In fact, it's Kaufmann who allows the band to build a dance party without the help of a drum set.

Bright & Austin :: 02.01 :: Austin, TX
"Not Far Away" came next, and the band really seemed to come together during this one. The crowd still wasn't exactly going crazy but when the song was finished they gave a hearty response. "Easy As Pie" and "A Father's Arms" were next but they didn't really stand out. Dave Johnston's banjo picking seemed a little sloppy during "Pie" and there was a lyric flub during "A Father's Arms." A nice "Lord Only Knows" led into "Boatman," which was easily the early highlight, including excellent solo work from everybody and solid collaborative jamming.

Adam Aijala's guitar-playing pushed Shawn Camp's "Damned If The Right One Didn't Go Wrong" forward powerfully before the band brought up Two High String Band's Billy Bright, just as they had last year in Austin. Bright and Austin's dual-mandolin attack was fantastic and definitely carried the rest of the set through "Years With Rose" > "Cuckoo's Nest" > "East Nashville Easter." At times it felt as if the rest of the band would have enjoyed being a bigger part of this exchange, but if your focus was on Austin and Bright's 16 strings you couldn't help but be impressed.

Dave Johnston :: 02.01 :: Austin, TX
The second set had much higher energy. Austin introduced the set by dedicating it to some dear friends with whom he had visited during the break. It was apparent from the tone in his voice and the energy on "Get Me Outta This City" that these were very special people to him, and suddenly the room felt a little smaller and more comfortable. Next, Kaufmann sang "Mother's Only Son," which was extended skillfully but seemed to be just testing the waters before some extremely unique jamming later in the set.

Another song from the new album, "Night Out," was patient and sweet before "Hill Country Girl," a Benny Galloway tune, heated things up again. Austin's introduction to the next song alluded to the last time it was played and included the phrase "It was as if the Beatles had reunited onstage." Then Kaufmann continued, "Fellas, this is the song where I steal your girlfriends" and politely apologized before starting into "Must've Had Your Reasons," a beautiful ballad that had the room standing still in contemplative bliss.

YMSB :: 02.01 :: Austin, TX
The highlight of the night came next, beginning with a long, precise version of "Snow On The Pines." Before long, Austin began to wail and the rest of the band followed his lead. The idle chit-chat of the crowd was replaced by hard dancing and exclamations of bliss. This was what everybody was there for, and it catapulted what had been a good show into the next level. The space that grew out of this song is called "Robot Jam" on the setlist but that's just because it had to be called something. It was no longer "Snow On The Pines" but it would eventually return to it. At times, it was nearly still. At others it had a Middle Eastern flair, thanks mostly to the banjo and guitar. Billy Bright was back in the fold, but instead of taking center stage with Austin, he melded perfectly into the sound. They finished exploring uncharted territory and returned to the present from which they'd departed.

To wrap things up, we were treated to a stellar set-closing "No Expectations" before being rewarded during the encore with a strong version of the band's anthem, "If There's Still Ramblin' in the Rambler (Let Him Go)" wrapped around a feel-good, sing-along version of The Faces' "Ooh La La," best known for its chorus, "I wish that I knew what I know now, when I was younger."

Yonder is back on the road, and they're certain to be passing through your town soon. If you're in the Southeast, they're on the way. If you live elsewhere, they'll be there soon. They're great hosts and they have a good time doing it. If you're not having a good time at a Yonder show you're doing something wrong.

Set I: Sidewalk Stars> Ain't Been Myself In Years, Not Far Away, Easy As Pie, A Father's Arms, Lord Only Knows (Part One) > Boatman, 40 Miles from Denver, Damned If The Right One Didn't Go Wrong, Years With Rose* > Cuckoo's Nest* > East Nashville Easter*
Set II: Get Me Outta This City, Mother's Only Son, Night Out, Hill Country Girl, Must've Had Your Reasons, Snow on the Pines* > Robot Jam* > Snow on the Pines*, Midwest Gospel Radio > High on a Hilltop, What You're Selling, Night Is Left Behind, Troubled Mind, No Expectations*
E: If There's Still Ramblin' in the Rambler (Let Him Go)* > Ooh La La* > Rambler Reprise*
* Billy Bright on mandolin

JamBase | Austin
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[Published on: 2/12/07]

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Treetophigh Mon 2/12/2007 06:59PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


pleeeeaaaaase please come to summer camp
I need some yonder

Marcsmall Mon 2/12/2007 07:16PM
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Praying for salvation to a sky so big and gray
Like a mountain by the end of the day
And all that is left is snow on the pines
And all that is left is...

sk8er4ever0101 starstarstarstarstar Mon 2/12/2007 07:20PM
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ymsb = goodness

i recorded it last year at summercamp, and its by far the best recording ive been able to get my hands on!

phreak89 Mon 2/12/2007 07:40PM
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i wa so pissed i missed thier show at the Culture Room last week. well al teast i got Umphree's coming.

All Loving Liberal White Guy Mon 2/12/2007 11:57PM
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All Loving Liberal White Guy

looked like fun

MoeString Mon 2/12/2007 11:59PM
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best band out now

lnorrigby starstar Tue 2/13/2007 05:22AM
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First of, the Faces sing Ooh La La. Second, Ronnie Wood sings the song, not Rod Stewart. Check the facts before submitting.
Elementary review. Nothing spectacular.

cocheese Tue 2/13/2007 05:48AM
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This Thursday nite City Hall, Nashville, TN i finally get to see these guys.

VAteonanacatl Tue 2/13/2007 05:49AM
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play all good pleaseeeeeeeee

kaiserbun starstarstar Tue 2/13/2007 06:12AM
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i've had a blast every time i've seen these guys. the only complaint i have is the banjo playing. sometimes its great, but lots of times it is flat out terrible. i realize he's got a different style, but lots of times he can't even stay in rhythm. its mainly on the tapes though, i never really notice at the shows since they are some much fun. the other guys always sound great, except for the fact that jeff austin likes to talk too much.

claypool4life starstarstarstar Tue 2/13/2007 06:26AM
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I hope the boys have it running on all cylinders by their columbus show. Can't wait to see them again best show for the money by far.

craikes13 starstarstarstarstar Tue 2/13/2007 07:18AM
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I agree w/ VAteo...............please play All Good 11!!!!

This band is absolutely smokin'!!!

Ashley starstarstarstarstar Tue 2/13/2007 08:15AM
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looking forward to friday night at the tabernacle!!! come to church!

Marcsmall Tue 2/13/2007 09:09AM
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Kaiser--I agree 100% on Jeff's talking...Doesn't bother me when I attend the show because I can go get a beer or whatever, but on the tapes, its awful.

TimkoNug starstarstarstarstar Tue 2/13/2007 09:20AM
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Good to see the boys getting some ink. They are definately one of the best shows around right now. The energy the crowd the music all blend together to what you want a show to be like. I'm curious to the future, because I wonder how all this would translate when the shows get bigger. Go see them now!

Marcsmall Tue 2/13/2007 09:25AM
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Timko---Theyre headlining Red Rocks this summer, so we'll see :)

adam36 Tue 2/13/2007 11:02AM
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I only read the first paragraph of this but it reaffirmed my hatred for Texas. The last yonder review from Texas stated as well how the crowd sucked. THe bottom line is that TExas is the worst state in the union. hopefully someday mexico attacks Texas and reclaims the land once again para la Republica. Anyways, if you are reading this and are from TExas i am very sorry for you. at least you have three days each year to go see panic at the backyard.

anyways, texas sucks.

seriously, horrible place

down with texas

TXfarmhouse Tue 2/13/2007 11:16AM
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I was wondering if anyone was going to review this show. Dave on Banjo was wasted when he got on stage, and that led to a poor performance in the first set. These guys are by far one of my favorite bands but I must regretfully say that the shows have gotten much weaker in the past year. They need to go back to the original motto of YMSB play as fast and loud as you can!!!

johnnygoff starstarstarstar Tue 2/13/2007 12:22PM
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come east ymsb.

nice writeup and photos.

sunlee starstarstarstarstar Tue 2/13/2007 01:05PM
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Kaye once again you write so well, I felt as if I was dancing in your shoes. Come on up to NWSS, this is where the party's at.

jcskolman starstarstarstar Tue 2/13/2007 03:02PM
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Raleigh show on Saturday is going to be Smokin'.... or at least I will be!!!

theivywall Tue 2/13/2007 06:26PM
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10\31\05, the halloween show in Champaign kicked some major ass, tell you hwat!

kvoelkel Tue 2/13/2007 07:11PM
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Yonder is awesome, they have changes their sound so much since i have started listening to them in 2000. and i think it is for the better. every band needs steady progression to stay healthy and happy. i will be seeing my 30 & 31st show next week and can not wait. they never dissapoint.

dogfleas starstarstarstarstar Tue 2/13/2007 09:47PM
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my girlfriend has a crush on dave johnston

cuttyfives Wed 2/14/2007 09:44AM
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DANKind Thu 2/15/2007 03:04PM
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saba Fri 2/16/2007 06:04AM
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i'm excited to see them tonight in atlatna. they have come a long way, and i am happy for their success

nwilso starstarstarstarstar Fri 2/16/2007 11:44AM
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anyone got extra tix to raleigh 021707?
email pinkfloyd19722003@yahoo.com if anyone does.

McCackles starstarstarstarstar Mon 2/19/2007 08:06PM
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Well said Mr. Kaye, well said.

Danessa starstarstarstar Wed 2/21/2007 07:42AM
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is everybody ready for columbus...and st loius!!!!! the millenium gonna be rockin saturday night!!!

todddan Thu 2/22/2007 11:13AM
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well see how tomarrow goes when yonder starts to melt my face off in columbus

jbrown21 starstarstarstarstar Sun 2/25/2007 09:21PM
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we need some Yonder at All Good!!

Danessa Thu 3/15/2007 09:32PM
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Happy Husk, I agree...i have to admit, i'm not a fan of the new album, not fast enough for me! the reason i love um so much is all the dancin they make wanna do!

MMBaby Sat 3/17/2007 10:12AM
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come north to alaska