Yonder Mountain String Band Kicks Off 2020 Blue Ox Festival


Yonder Mountain String Band kicked off the 2020 Blue Ox Festival on Friday. The quintet delivered a close to career-spanning set for the socially distanced crowd at the Whispering Pines Campground in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.

After an introduction, bassist Ben Kaufmann cracked everyone up by remarking that this was YMSB’s “first festival of the year” before leading the band through “Part 1 (Lord Only Knows)” which saw Allie Kral adding some fine fiddle right out of the gate. Yonder then segued into their classic cover of John Hartford’s “Two Hits And The Joint Turned Brown.” The song saw the group throwing solos around with the highlight being newest member mandolinist Nick Piccininni trading licks with Kral. Next, guitarist Adam Aijala stepped to the mic for his song “A Father’s Arms.” Banjo player Dave Johnston then led the band through “Don’t You Lean On Me” ahead of “Insult And An Elbow,” the opening track from the Yonder’s 2015 album Black Sheep.


Next, Kral crushed the Jefferson Airplane psychedelic classic “White Rabbit” ahead of some vintage YMSB in “Another Day” followed by newer song “Annalee” off Black Sheep. The bluegrass traditional “Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down” first recorded by Charlie Poole came next followed by a segued section of “Winds On Fire” and the catchy bass-driven tune “Nowhere Next.” Aijala then led the band on the Texas-themed “Hill Country Girl” before Ben Kaufmann sang “Criminal” from YMSB’s 2009 rock album The Show. The Texas nods kept coming with Townes Van Zandt’s “White Freight Liner Blues” ahead of a set-closing segment of “New Dusty Miller” and “All The Time.” The band would retake the stage for an encore of Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” and “Dominated Love Slave” to bring the evening to a close.

Watch YMSB’s first five songs from Blue Ox 2020 via Relix below:

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YMSB returns to the Blue Ox Stage tonight.

Setlist (via Setlist.com)

One Set: Part 1 (Lord Only Knows) > Two Hits And The Joint Turned Brown, A Father’s Arms, Don’t You Lean On Me, Insult And An Elbow, White Rabbit, Another Day, Annalee, Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down, Winds On Fire > Nowhere Next, Hill Country Girl, Criminal, White Freightliner, New Dusty Miller > All The Time

Encore: For What It’s Worth, Dominated Love Slave

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