Yonder Mountain String Band re-release “Elevation” For 20th anniversary

Yonder Mountain String Band is Dave Johnston, Jacob Joliff, Ben Kaufmann, Adam Aijala and Allie Kral. Photo by Emily Butler Photography

NEDERLAND, Co. — To celebrate the 20 year anniversary of their debut album Elevation Colorado-based jam-grassers Yonder Mountain String Band have announced a 180g double vinyl re-issue of the record regarded by many fans as the record that helped to put the band on the map, eventually elevating them to being one of the premier acts in modern bluegrass music.

Originally released on the band’s own independent Frog Pad Records, Elevation features founding members Dave Johnston, Ben Kaufmann, Adam Aijala, and the late Jeff Austin, along with guest musicians Mike Marshall, Darol Anger, Sally Van Meter, and Celeste Krenz. The 20th anniversary release of Elevation is available now in limited quantities at YMSB’s tour stops and online.

Earlier this summer the band honored Austin during their performance at the 46th annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival in Telluride, Colorado, with a rendition of “Half Moon Rising,” the first track from Elevation. At the time Austin was in the hospital, later passing away on June 24. Watch a video of the performance, a part of YMSB’s 20th consecutive year playing the festival, below.

“Twenty years ago, over a good meal and margaritas, a pivotal moment in acoustic music transpired and forever changed the face of acoustic and bluegrass music,” said Elevation producer Sally Van Meter. “That moment was the agreement to produce Yonder Mountain String Band’s first studio recording, Elevation. YMSB’s Elevation broke past traditional bluegrass music boundaries, opening the door for acceptance of the next generation’s take on a new style that audiences would fully embrace. YMSB had something special about what they played, and how they played it. Their songs showed that it was not just jamgrass party time. No matter what they played, they did it with a full musical heart—both familiar and new concert attendees fell in love with them. Young and old listeners together could feel that this first recording was a wind-direction change in acoustic music that had not been felt possibly since the 70s with Tony Rice and David Grisman. 

When YMSB came to me to produce Elevation, they told me, “We want to make a studio recording that will show people we are serious, and that we can make a studio recording that is professional.” What emerged from that conversation was near equal to a paradigm shift in the Bluegrass Universe. At Rancho De Ville recording studio in Boulder, we shared laughter, disagreements, commitment, and hope. We recorded a great album in the way YMSB members and their fans approach life in general: we had fun and worked hard together. I am still thankful that I took them at their word and accepted the job as their producer. 

With the 1999 release of Elevation, YMSB brought their new music and songs into folks’ living rooms, weddings, parties, and more prominent concert venues. The new fans earned from Elevation are fans that understood they had become part of the magic that is YMSB. The band always worked together as one unit; no one offered more than the other and all remained true to their vision and audience. YMSB’s gift to the music community remains evident. 

Now, upon the 20th Anniversary of the release of Elevation, it is good for me to remember and to celebrate this recording for what it was and still is: full of heart, great music, and the best of times for so many.”

Yonder Mountain String Band spent the latter half of 2019 touring from the eastern seaboard to Oregon’s Northwest String Summit with stops throughout the heartland, including a near sold-out performance at Red Rocks Amphitheatre and an early August return to The Burl in Lexington. The band will finish out the year at Mexico’s Strings & Sol and their highly anticipated Colorado New Years run. 2020 kicks into high gear with a January Mountain State tour, including a Pacific Northwest run with The Infamous Stringdusters, before heading to the southeast with The Travelin’ McCourys. 

For more information visit yondermountain.com.

Yonder Mountain String Band On Tour:

Nov. 14 — Brooklyn Bowl — Brooklyn, N.Y.
Nov. 15 — Ardmore Music Hall — Ardmore, Pa.
Nov. 16 — The Hamilton Live — Washington, D.C.
Nov. 17 — Levon Helm Studios — Woodstock, N.Y.
Nov. 21 — Port City Music Hall — Portland, Me.
Nov. 22 — The Met — Pawtucket, R.I.
Nov. 23 — Brighton Music Hall — Boston, Ma.
Nov. 24 — Capitol Theatre — York, Pa.
Jan. 6 — Park City Live — Park City, Ut.
Jan. 7 — Mangy Moose — Teton Village, Wy.
Jan. 9 — The Mint — Hailey, Id.
Jan. 10 — The Rialto — Bozeman, Mt.
Jan. 11 — Top Hat Lounge — Missoula, Mt.
Jan. 12 — The Hive — Sandpoint, Id.
Jan. 14 — Wild Buffalo — Bellingham, Wa.
Jan. 16 — Historic Ashland Armory — Ashland, Or.
Jan. 17 — Crystal Ballroom — Portland, Or.
Jan. 18 — The Showbox — Seattle, Wa.
Jan. 19 — McDonald Theater — Eugene, Or.
Jan. 28 — The Lyric Theatre — Blacksburg, Va.
Jan. 29 — The National — Richmond, Va.
Jan. 30 — Cat’s Cradle — Carrboro, N.C.
Jan. 31 — The Orange Peel — Asheville, N.C.
Feb. 1 — The Mill & Mine — Knoxville, Tn.
Feb. 4 — Ponte Vedra Concert Hall — Ponte Vedra Beach, Fl.
Feb. 5 — The Plaza Live — Orlando, Fl.
Feb. 6 — Culture Room — Fort Lauderdale, Fl.
Feb. 7 — Jannus Live — Saint Petersburg, Fl.
Feb. 8 — Variety Playhouse — Atlanta, Ga.

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