Checking in with Yonder Mountain String Band
Photo by Jeffrey Dupuis
Dave: It’s going to be on the magnitude of Sports by Huey Lewis and the News. It’s going to be huge. Like bulky huge, like Biggest Loser huge. [Laughs.]
Adam: We’ve got the roughs recorded for a possible EP. We have an overabundance of unrecorded original material, and ideally, we would prefer to have brand new stuff when we record, but as it stands now, if we want to do more than an EP, time is a big thing. Generally, we chose to record when we are not on the road and now there are three new kids in the world—Dave’s got a little kid and Ben has a little boy—so free time is harder to come by. We definitely understand the importance of it, more and more we remind ourselves that we need to get something recorded because everyone else is recording stuff. It would be great to get this EP out. They’re all songs that we already play live but I think the oldest one is right around two or three years old, and the rest are one to two years old. In October, we had two days in Chicago to get some tracks down; we decided to make some time while we were on the road as opposed to doing it when we weren’t. The roughs were just the four of us.
Three Summer Festivals Not to Miss
Adam: I would have to say Northwest String Summit and Harvest Fest, because we headline those. The third is tough, because we love All Good and we love Telluride Bluegrass. Telluride is sold out in advance though. Telluride is called country and bluegrass, but there have been a lot of rock bands through the years that have played it and it’s a little more eclectic. Harvest is a newer one for us, that’s in the Ozarks of northwest Arkansas, and it’s kind of our deal. In that regard, if you’re talking specifically to our fans, then you get three nights of us playing and that’s the same as Northwest String Summit. Harvest is a little more eclectic than String Summit. String Summit, that’s an incredible location to see music. Harvest Fest is really beautiful too, being in Arkansas you may not think there’s much there, but it’s actually really pretty—big hardwood forests, rolling hills, big tall mountains—though I’m hesitant to go that far compared to Colorado.
Adam: We did Kinfolk Festival last year in Lyons, Colorado where they do Rocky Grass, and if we were doing that this year I would throw that one into the mix too. That was a two-day deal, and that was just a really great location. I don’t know where [the term Kinfolk] came from. Was it the guy who set up our original e-groups or no?
Dave: You know, it’s a mystery to me too. It’s part of the power and its beauty, its mysterious origins. The kinfolk are great people; it’s like an extended family for us.
Fans on Tour
Adam: There’s a couple we see at every show, which is always fun. Regionally you see the same people. We had this one guy who toured with us for an entire year, I think he missed something like one show, pretty funny. He pops up every now and again, but I think he has a job now so we don’t see him quite as often. You definitely see the same faces. It’s endearing and really cool, because we know what we do every night, and that people still want to come see it is pretty cool. Even though we mix it up, it still makes you feel good that people—especially those who have been fans for years—are still coming out for multiple shows at a time.
Dave: We haven’t seen him in a while but I think it would be cool to run into Fareed Haque.
Adam: Yeah, totally. I’m looking forward to doing some stuff with Jason Carter on fiddle again, and getting Andy Hall from the [String] Dusters to play some more shows with us. I like having all kinds of guests. If I think guitar players, I like playing with [Andy] Falco from the Dusters and Larry Keel. Danny Barnes on banjo, Belá [Fleck], whatever. I like getting instruments up there that aren’t already on stage, that’s why I mentioned fiddle and dobro—Anders [Beck] from Greensky [Bluegrass] too—because we don’t have that in the band.
Reading on the Road
Adam: I’m actually reading the last book of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time. Robert Jordan passed away a few years ago, the first book of the series came out in 1987 and this is the last book, he wrote part of it before he died and this guy Brandon Sanderson finished it up. Ben has already finished it and he told me the ending sucked, so I’m really looking forward to wrapping that up, it’s one of those stories where you’re like, “Come on, I started reading this twelve years ago.” It’s been a long time coming. Just like [bassist] Ben [Kauffmann], I’ve read A Song of Ice and Fire, that whole George R.R. Martin series. I’m also reading a book by William Cooper called Behold a Pale Horse, which is a conspiracy book. I probably shouldn’t be saying this over the phone; there’s probably someone from the CIA listening.
Dave: I’m reading this booked called Alien vs. Predator [Michael Robbins]. Then there’s this other book by a guy named David McGimpsey called Li’l Bastard; it’s pretty good.