Yonder Mountain String Band adds to busy year with spring 2017 tour dates
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New tour dates are perhaps a bit nearer than the topographical feature in their name would have you believe. Yonder Mountain String Band has announced details for its spring tour, which kicks off March 15 at The Depot in Salt Lake City. The monthlong trek takes the five-piece Colorado-based bluegrass-and-then-some outfit across the West Coast, with dates in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Sacramento and West Hollywood. The tour wraps on April 8 with a show at the Orpheum Theater in Flagstaff, Ariz. The Lil’ Smokies, a fellow progressive bluegrass band out of Montana, serves as supporting act for most of the tour, save for a pair of dates in Jackson, Wyo., and Boise, Idaho. Tickets are currently on sale through the band’s website.

Since forming in 1998, Yonder Mountain has emerged as one of bluegrass’ most inventive bands, making them a go-to favorite on the festival circuit. Already this year, they’ve secured appearances at WinterWonderGrass Tahoe, March 31-April 1, and Romp Fest in Owensboro, Ky., June 21-24, with undoubtedly more to come. Their most recent album, 2015’s Black Sheep—their first without founding mandolinist Jeff Austin—marked a new chapter for the group. With violinist Allie Kral filling the void left by Austin, the band produced an album that is “more song-centric than ever before,” according to Relix, with “a more focused songwriting approach” that “will bring in more than a few newcomers,” according to Glide Magazine.

“This record sounds more like Yonder than any record we’ve ever done,” bassist Ben Kaufmann said in a statement. “I’m hoping that when people are finished listening to it, they’ll just hit play and listen to it again.” The feeling was mutual for guitarist Adam Aijala, who’s been thrust more into the role of a traditional frontman in Austin’s absence. “We’ve been growing over the years and I feel like we really don’t have any limitations,” he said. “It doesn’t feel like work when you get to hang out with people that you care about and play music.”

Following a New Year’s Eve run in Boulder, Colo., that saw them honor two of the jam-band scene’s most iconic groups, the Grateful Dead and Phish, with covers of “Touch of Grey” and “Scent of a Mule,” respectively, the band is poised to hit the ground running for an exceptionally busy New Year. A winter tour kicks off Jan. 19 at The Bluebird in Bloomington, Ind., taking them through the Midwest and Southeast, with the tour finale set for Feb. 19 at George’s Majestic Lounge in Fayetteville, Ark. The full itinerary can be found here.