Yonder Mountain String Band has always played music by its own set of rules. Bending bluegrass, rock and countless other influences that the band cites, Yonder has pioneered a sound of their own. With their traditional lineup of instruments, the band may look like a traditional bluegrass band at first glance but they’ve created their own music that transcends any genre. The Colorado-based foursome’s sound cannot be classified purely as “bluegrass” or “string music”. The band continues to play by their own rules on their latest record, The Show (2009). The band has long cited such varied influences as the bluegrass of Johnson Mountain Boys as well as the punk rock of the Dead Kennedys. Somewhere in between these two tent poles are early 20th Century composers and alternative rock bands like Grandaddy and Postal Service. It’s all funneled through the band’s unique chemistry, honed since they first met at an informa! l club performance in 1998. With band members writing individually, in different pairings and as a collective, the album proves that this group is a collection of creative peers and you can hear it in the rich tapestry of music that makes up The Show. It is the band’s most varied and versatile album to date, and the summation of the journey that these guys are on together. It’s bluegrass for the masses, acoustic tunes filled with dazzling chops, and it’s fun to boot.
The members of Railroad Earth aren’t losing sleep about what “kind” of music they play – they just play it. When they started out in 2001, they were a bunch of guys interested in playing acoustic instruments together. Shortly thereafter, they took five songs from their budding repertoire into a studio and knocked out a demo in just two days. Their soon-to-be manager sent that demo to a few festivals, and – to the band’s surprise – they were booked at the prestigious Telluride Bluegrass Festival before they’d even played their first gig. This prompted them to quickly go in and record five more songs; the ten combined tracks of which made up their debut album, The Black Bear Sessions. That was the beginning of Railroad Earth’s journey: since those early days, they’ve gone on to release five more critically acclaimed studio albums and one hugely popular live one called, Elko. Ultimately, Railroad ! Earth’s music is driven by the remarkable songs of front-man, Todd Sheaffer, and is delivered with seamless arrangements and superb musicianship courtesy of all six band members. Don’t miss Yonder Mountain String Band and Railroad Earth July 5 at The LC!