Falling in the middle of their 2019 fall tour, this September marked the 20th Anniversary of award-winning Colorado bluegrass band, Yonder Mountain String Band’s critically acclaimed debut album, Elevation. Out of print for years and considered by decades-long fans to be the band’s career-defining album, it only seemed natural for YMSB to celebrate this milestone with a 20th-anniversary 180g double vinyl re-release. Originally released on the band’s own independent Frog Pad Records, Elevation features founding members Dave Johnston, Ben Kaufmann, Adam Aijala, and 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 the merch table and online.
Elevation producer Sally Van Meter shared some of her heartfelt thoughts on the creation and legacy of Elevation and what it meant to the greater acoustic music community:
"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. 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. 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.
Catch Yonder Mountain String Band On Tour:
Nov 14, 2019 - Brooklyn Bowl - Brooklyn, NY
Nov 15, 2019 - Ardmore Music Hall - Ardmore, PA
Nov 16, 2019 - The Hamilton Live - Washington, DC
Nov 17, 2019 - Levon Helm Studios - Woodstock, NY
Nov 21, 2019 - Port City Music Hall - Portland, ME
Nov 22, 2019 - The Met - Pawtucket, RI
Nov 23, 2019 - Brighton Music Hall - Boston, MA
Nov 24, 2019 - Capitol Theatre - York, PA
Jan 6, 2020 - Park City Live - Park City, UT
Jan 7, 2020 - Mangy Moose - Teton Village, WY
Jan 9, 2020 - The Mint - Hailey, ID
Jan 10, 2020 - The Rialto - Bozeman, MT
Jan 11, 2020 - Top Hat Lounge - Missoula, MT
Jan 12, 2020 - The Hive - Sandpoint, ID
Jan 14, 2020 - Wild Buffalo - Bellingham, WA
Jan 16, 2020 - Historic Ashland Armory - Ashland, OR
Jan 17, 2020 - Crystal Ballroom - Portland, OR
Jan 18, 2020 - The Showbox - Seattle, WA
Jan 19, 2020 - McDonald Theater - Eugene, OR
Jan 28, 2020 - The Lyric Theatre - Blacksburg, VA
Jan 29, 2020 - The National - Richmond, VA
Jan 30, 2020 - Cat’s Cradle - Carrboro, NC
Jan 31, 2020 - The Orange Peel - Asheville, NC
Feb 1, 2020 - The Mill & Mine - Knoxville, TN
Feb 4, 2020 - Ponte Vedra Concert Hall - Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
Feb 5, 2020 - The Plaza Live - Orlando, FL
Feb 6, 2020 - Culture Room - Fort Lauderdale, FL
Feb 7, 2020 - Jannus Live - Saint Petersburg, FL
Feb 8, 2020 - Variety Playhouse - Atlanta, GA