All American Jamboree with the Yonder Mountain String Band

Yonder Mountain String Band
Moonlite Gardens
Cincinnati, Ohio
July 4, 2009

Yonder Mountain String Band’s set at Moonlite Gardens in Cincinnati, Ohio on Independence night resembled a crunch-worthy monster truck or heavy metal show. That’s a funny thing when you consider they are a band of four talented string playing bluegrass musicians.

Laying it on thick and quick from the beginning, YMSB launched into their hyper driven cover of the JJ Cale classic, "If You’re Ever in Oklahoma." Trekking back to Mountain Tracks: Volume 4, they mixed in the Talking Heads’ "Girlfriend is Better" for good measure. Adam Aijala’s acoustic guitar picking was pristine on the warm night, and he contributed exuberantly to "A Father’s Arms." Banjo master Dave Johnston offered added support to "Belle Parker," while bassist Ben Kaufmann found the heart and soul inside of the four part harmonies of "Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down." 

A possessed mandolin string-bending Jeff Austin led the ensemble through "Kentucky Mandolin," and the show stopping ending of "Ruby > Follow Me Down to the Riverside > Ruby." All in all, it was one of the best performances by Yonder Mountain String Band that the area has seen, and they encored sweetly with a tight version of Willie & Waylon’s "Good Hearted Woman," sending the holiday crowd home with more than just memories of fireworks on a hot summer’s night.