Yonder Mountain String Band Explains Their "Great Musical Coup"

A foremost proponent of the so-called "Nu-Grass" phenomenon -- a genre that merges the best of bluegrass with jam band sensibilities -- Colorado's Yonder Mountain String Band has attracted a fervent following that spans both sides of the Great Divide. Extolling the populist philosophy first championed by bands like the Grateful Dead, Phish, and Widespread Panic, they incorporate banjos, bouzouki, and mandolins into a traditional rock regimen in an effort to spur their fan's evergreen enthusiasm. Merely investigate their last album, Mountain Tracks, Vol. 5, the latest in a series of live recordings released on their own Frog Pad record label to understand what YMSB is.

Now in their fourteenth year as an active ensemble, they have become regulars at the nation's major bluegrass gatherings, particularly in their native Colorado, where they command headline status. Here in South Florida there's nary a mountain in sight -- excepting, of course, Mount Trashmore -- but regardless, the band's managed to make significant inroads in the Sunshine State, as well. On the eve of their upcoming sojourn to South Florida, we spoke to guitarist Adam Aijala and bassist Ben Kaufmann about their role in today's so-called Nu-grass phenomenon.

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Lee Zimmerman