Win Tickets ($60): Yonder Mountain String Band @ Crystal Ballroom | Rock, Bluegrass

We are giving away a pair of tickets to Yonder Mountain String Band @ Crystal Ballroom on March 18. To win, comment on this post why you’d like to attend. Winner will be drawn and emailed Monday, March 14.


From our sponsors:
Yonder Mountain String Band @ Crystal BallroomYonder Mountain String Band
March 18, 2016
7 p.m. doors, 8 p.m. show | $25 ADV, $30 Doors | All Ages
More info:

Crystal Ballroom
1332 W. Burnside, Portland, OR 97209

For nearly 17 years, Yonder Mountain String Band has redefined bluegrass music, expanding the traditional acoustic genre beyond its previously established boundaries by steadily pushing the envelope into the realms of rock n’ roll and improvisation. YMSB has always played music of their own design, in the process attracting a devout coterie of fans that often resembles a tight knit family on an epic musical journey as Yonder traverses the country with an ever-rigorous tour schedule. Yonder is a quintessential ensemble honing its craft night after night on the road, and the fans are there to experience it in real time. The result is music that doesn’t stand still, it’s always progressing and breaking unprecedented ground.

With their latest album, Black Sheep (scheduled for national release on their own Frog Pad Records at Telluride Bluegrass Festival on June 16, 2015), Yonder Mountain String Band – Adam Aijala (guitar, vocals), Dave Johnston (banjo, vocals), Ben Kaufmann (bass, vocals), Allie Kral (violin, vocals), and Jacob Jolliff (mandolin, vocals) – begins a new era. The first YMSB release produced by the band itself, Black Sheep is, by any measure, a triumph, perhaps the most mesmeric of their career. The result, says Kaufmann, is that, “This record sounds more like Yonder than any record we’ve ever done. I’m hoping that when people are finished listening to it, they’ll just hit play and listen to it again.”

Black Sheep marks the first time in Yonder’s history that they’re actually utilizing, throughout an entire record, the conventional five-piece instrumental arsenal of bluegrass introduced in the 1940s: guitar, mandolin, banjo, fiddle and bass. With the exception of the album’s sole cover tune, “Ever Fallen In Love,” originally by the late ’70s British punk-rock band the Buzzcocks, each of the album’s new tracks were written by the YMSB members during the past couple of years. Three of the new songs – “Annalee,” “Landfall” and the title track – have already been road-tested on tour; others will be added to the band’s live repertoire following the album’s release. The majority of Black Sheep was recorded at Coupe Studios in Boulder, Colorado, with Adam handling much of the engineering at his home studio and while on the road; the first time a band member has taken on that task.

Even on first listen, it becomes instantaneously apparent that Black Sheep is the work of a new Yonder Mountain String Band, one with a strong commitment to re-exhibiting itself and broadening its parameters following the departure of a founding member. While it’s immediately recognizable as YMSB music, there’s undeniably a raw aesthetic to the studio tracks – a sense of daring is embedded in both the instrumental interaction between these five singular players and in the lyrical content of each song.

Yonder has its roots in the year 1998, when the original quartet came together in Colorado. Through steadfast gigging in all manner of venues from small clubs to massive outdoor festivals, Yonder Mountain String Band quickly built a robust fanbase while continually experimenting to define its sound. Some of the most fervent audiences were at jam band shows and festivals, where fans took readily to YMSB’s potent mix of the traditional bluegrass of Bill Monroe, the Stanley Brothers and Doc Watson and the improvisational sensibilities of the Grateful Dead and Phish. Also deeply ingrained in the band, albeit more subtly, was a fierce love for punk, which provided the members with seminal influences while they were growing up. “We didn’t even hear bluegrass until our 20s,” says Aijala. “Falling in love with the sound of bluegrass instruments, while also having all of these outside influences that had nothing to do with bluegrass – well, what comes out isn’t what we envisioned.”

With the band’s 17th anniversary coming this summer, and an extensive tour schedule running throughout the year, a revitalized Yonder Mountain takes delight in the fact that they are still reaching new fans while simultaneously retaining the characteristics that brought their greater community together in the first place. The loss of one member and the subsequent invitation for some of today’s top pickers to help shape their evolving sound brings intriguing opportunities to the table; ones that set YMSB on its new path. Black Sheep is a bold statement, meant to passionately get fans up on their feet and ecstatically dancing, but it’s also about embracing the moment. Essential changes are a healthy step in keeping the music alive and well.

“We’ve been growing over the years and I feel like we really don’t have any limitations,” says Aijala. “It doesn’t feel like work when you get to hang out with people that you care about and play music.”

Adds Kaufmann, “It’s not just bluegrass – it’s progressive. Everything Yonder has ever tried to do, we’re doing in this record. It’s gonna take some time for fans to get acquainted with the new Yonder. When you make a big change like we did, it’s a huge thing. But the band is a force, and the album is such a perfect example of our new direction.”

Says Johnston in conclusion, “Yonder Mountain String Band is as durable as bluegrass itself. It changes and morphs and has an open-endedness that makes anything possible.”

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50 Responses to Win Tickets ($60): Yonder Mountain String Band @ Crystal Ballroom | Rock, Bluegrass

  1. Chrisi March 7, 2016 at 5:39 pm #

    Haven’t seen them in a while, would be great to boogie to them again!

  2. Kris March 7, 2016 at 8:41 pm #

    Never seen them, heard only amazing things. Would love to get my yonder cherry popped! Boogy down!!

  3. Cynthia March 8, 2016 at 8:53 am #

    I’d love to surprise my husband with tickets to this show! It’s his favorite type of music and neither of us have seen this band before :)

  4. William Longnecker March 8, 2016 at 9:25 am #

    I want to be part of the mass of humanity that will have the crystal ballroom floor hopping when ymsb works their magic!

  5. Lora March 8, 2016 at 12:48 pm #

    I would love to win tickets and bring a friend who has never seen them before!

  6. Felecia Rollins March 8, 2016 at 1:25 pm #

    What a night it would be! I’d love to shake my bones to them once again! I saw them once upon a time at Horning’s Hideout and I danced covered in dust from the bowl late into the evening :)

  7. Kristie March 8, 2016 at 4:32 pm #

    Newbies to Portland! We ripped out an article from an issue of the Portland magazine which was entitled 50 things to becoming a Portlander (or something like that anyways!) Modified a few, but kept most, and wouldn’t you know it, one of them is to attend a show at the Crystal ballroom! And since bluegrass is our favorite (saw Greensky Bluegrass at the Wonder ballroom…AMAZING!!), then we’re a shoe in right??!

  8. Michelle Magura March 9, 2016 at 12:40 pm #

    YMSB – yellow mustard squeeze bottles. Pick me!

  9. Krissy March 9, 2016 at 2:58 pm #

    because my kids will finally be out of town with my parents… and I need an adult night out! Also… i’m broke… see kids comment.

  10. Jessica March 9, 2016 at 7:07 pm #

    YMSB is going to have Crystal Ballroom feeling like a bouncy castle.

  11. Bonnie Stinson March 9, 2016 at 8:24 pm #

    Just moved to Portland, and have been missing bluegrass music! Would love to take my sweetie out for some sweet tunes and boogie-in.

  12. Brett March 9, 2016 at 10:27 pm #

    Birthday weekend in PDX!! Would love to see YMSB at the Crystal…be the start of a perfect weekend out of town.

  13. Ryan March 10, 2016 at 6:36 am #

    Bluegrass would be a good way to kick off the weekend

  14. 503geek March 10, 2016 at 11:38 am #

    want to go… would you happen to have tickets for me?

  15. Heather March 10, 2016 at 2:21 pm #

    This sounds like so much fun! I diffidently want to go!

  16. Shawn March 10, 2016 at 3:30 pm #

    Count me in, would love to go and have friends who would join!!

  17. Cory March 10, 2016 at 3:32 pm #

    Oh hell yes!!!!!!!!!!

  18. Liz March 10, 2016 at 3:35 pm #

    Sounds like the perfect way to start the weekend, yes, please!

  19. lizzy March 10, 2016 at 3:38 pm #

    met them once in Madison WI, but haven’t been to one of their shows in years..

  20. Steve B March 10, 2016 at 3:40 pm #

    I’d love to check them out again, as it has been far too long! It hasn’t worked out for me to be able to catch them in years (despite the fact that they play Portland, Eugene, and Horning Hideout across multiple dates EVERY YEAR). I haven’t seen them since Jeff left the band, and I’d love to be given a chance to get down to some jamgrass!

  21. Rochelle March 10, 2016 at 3:51 pm #

    Send me! Send me!

  22. Jordan March 10, 2016 at 4:10 pm #

    My parents are coming into town and would love to get them to join in on the festivities since they have never been to see yonder at the crystal.

  23. Tristan March 10, 2016 at 4:27 pm #

    I was born in Alabama with a banjo on my knee and moved here 2 years ago from Atlanta, so YES I love me some bluegrass baby!!!! :)

  24. Rina March 10, 2016 at 4:30 pm #

    Pick me!

  25. Lisa March 10, 2016 at 4:31 pm #

    Because music feeds the soul and we love YMSB!

  26. Heather March 10, 2016 at 4:32 pm #

    Omg please.

  27. Janice March 10, 2016 at 4:36 pm #

    What a fun and festive date night!

  28. Rob March 10, 2016 at 4:57 pm #

    Manbuns FTW!

  29. Rose March 10, 2016 at 5:43 pm #

    Please help a struggling nursing student by giving me the chance to go see these amazing musicians! Must get out of the bodily fluids life I live while working at a hospital! Thank you sooooo much!!!

  30. Mauraborealice March 10, 2016 at 7:26 pm #

    This is our roots music, don’t quite hear enough of it.

  31. Erin March 10, 2016 at 8:13 pm #

    We’d have a ball with Yonder!

  32. Adriane March 10, 2016 at 8:25 pm #

    A new album and they cover the Buzzcocks “Ever Fallen In Love”?!? I’d love to see that performed live. And to get out on a Friday night kid free? Can a gal dream so big?

  33. Lilly March 10, 2016 at 11:07 pm #

    I need to practice my moves!

  34. Scott March 11, 2016 at 7:44 am #

    I would love to go!

  35. doug March 11, 2016 at 9:35 am #

    would be areally fun show

  36. cathy March 11, 2016 at 10:16 am #

    I’d love to take my family!

  37. Tom P March 11, 2016 at 10:18 am #

    These guys are good!

  38. Jessica March 11, 2016 at 10:25 am #

    Never gotten a chance to see them but hear they put on a great show. Would love to find out for sure, ❤ pdx pipeline

  39. Danielle March 11, 2016 at 12:32 pm #

    This sounds like a really fun show.

  40. Willow Myrick March 11, 2016 at 4:10 pm #

    Would LOVE LOVE LOVE to see these guys live!

  41. Delia March 11, 2016 at 6:53 pm #

    I really want to go, please pick me!

  42. Angela March 12, 2016 at 2:38 pm #

    Would be a super good time!! Love them!!

  43. lorea March 12, 2016 at 4:34 pm #

    It’s time to dance to some bluegrass. I’d really lie to go and free music’s about the only way to do it this these days. Please pick me. I’ll have a blast I promise.

  44. panda March 12, 2016 at 9:14 pm #

    haven’t seen any bluegrass in a while

  45. Shane March 13, 2016 at 1:45 am #

    I’ve heard such great things about this band’s concerts, it would be great to hear them live!

  46. Ellen March 13, 2016 at 12:12 pm #

    I am visiting Portland with my bluegrass-loving aunt, and we would LOVE to party with Yonder Mountain.

  47. Emily March 13, 2016 at 3:42 pm #

    This sounds like a blast. Haven’t seen them before but would love to!

  48. Amanda Bannester March 14, 2016 at 4:47 am #

    What a great way to have a first dance with my boyfriend, fingers crossed!!

  49. Angela lowry March 14, 2016 at 11:02 am #

    I really enjoy all kinds of music, my first outdoor concert was of B.B. King, best concert ever, and this band has my attention and would love to go to this with my husband, since he’s the one that opened my eyes to music, and the understanding of tat it has heart and meaning

  50. Eric March 15, 2016 at 11:38 am #

    Time to switch things up by attending a show that I wouldn’t normally attend at all.

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