Yonder Mountain String Band
Jacksonville Beach, Florida
February 11, 2010
After having to cancel last year’s gig, Yonder Mountain String Band returned to Freebird Live in Jacksonville Beach, FL to a sold out crowd of over 700 very cold folks – 40-degree outside temperatures at show time even led the band to comment that the weather felt just like the band’s home in Colorado.
Yonder attracts a diverse crowd. There were married couples in their 60s, kids with dreads down their back and everything in between. But they all came for one thing – to dance and have a great time, and Yonder didn’t disappoint. With their version of bluegrass, jamgrass, jam/jazz/rockgrass – no matter how you label it – it’s Yonder music.
Willie Nelson was also in town that night at the Florida Theatre, and the band commented that "we left a small trail of pot between here and there and we’ll see what happens."
Since the band was performing at Freebird, the venue owned by Judy Van Zant, wife of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s late singer Ronnie (and with Skynyrd memorabilia everywhere), after the first song the band encouraged the crowd to get the chants for "Freebird" out of their systems.
The first set was built on more traditional bluegrass music; featuring both few slower songs such as "Belle Parker," "Dreams" and "Ragdoll" and bluegrass rockers like "Fingerprint" and "Counter Reaction."
However, the highlights were the amazing harmonies on "Spanish Harlem" and the sometimes psychedelic-sounding "Sidewalk Stars," which flowed into a stellar performance of "No Expectations," showcasing the musicianship of Jeff Austin on mandolin, Dave Johnston on banjo and Adam Aijala on acoustic guitar.
The second set opened with a tribute to Willie Nelson, when the band played the Waylon Jennings/Willie Nelson classic, "Good Hearted Woman." The rest of the set was filled with traditional bluegrass tunes and "California Country," a tune that sounded a bit like "old timey country."
The second set’s highlight was the "Ramblin in the Rambler > Angel > Follow Me Down to the Riverside > Angel > Rabmlin Reprise," which was full of the jamgrass/improvisation that Yonder is loved for.
All in all it was a great evening spent with Yonder Mountain String Band and the Yonder Kinfolk in attendance. It had to be a surprise to the band and the venue to have a sell out crowd on a cold (for Florida standards) Thursday evening
02/11/10 Freebird Live – Jacksonville Beach, FL
Set 1: Redbird, Crow Black Chicken, Pow Wow The Indian Boy, Fingerprint, Spanish Harlem Incident, Counter Reaction, Raleigh & Spencer, Polly Put The Kettle On, Belle Parker, Country Boy Rock & Roll, Dreams, Rag Doll, Sidewalk Stars> No Expectations
Set 2: Good Hearted Woman, Nothin But Nothin, California Cottonfields, Angel With The Golden Hair, Things You’re Selling, Midwest Gospel Radio> Illinois Rain, 20 Eyes, 1/2 Moon Rising, Casualty, Ramblin In The Rambler> Angel> Follow Me Down To The Riverside> Angel> Ramblin Reprise
Encore: Steam Powered Aereoplane, Troubled Mind