Yonder Mountain String Band's Kinfolk Celebration at Planet Bluegrass Ranch, 8/25-8/26 (photos and review) - Reverb

Yonder Mountain String Band’s Kinfolk Celebration at Planet Bluegrass Ranch, 8/25-8/26 (photos and review)

It’s hard to believe that 10 years have passed since hometown boys Yonder Mountain String Band held their first Kinfolk Celebration at Planet Bluegrass in Lyons. It seemed Friday and Saturday that the setting was perfect, even if the event drew a very un-Planet crowd, in this case a much younger, dance-oriented group of fans who boogied nonstop to Larry Keel, Split Lip Rayfield and Todd Snider on Friday, and Greensky Bluegrass on Saturday, with two sets from Yonder each night.

Kinfolk brought together artists who definitely fall outside the mainstream of bluegrass, if there is such a thing, infusing the traditional music with a healthy dose of rock, jam and even punk.

Split Lip Rayfield’s Jeff Eaton played a one-string bass made from a Mercury Grand Marquis gastank with manic energy, and the band’s upbeat harmonies on “Easy Street” got the crowd moving.

Bonus feature: Five moments that made Yonder Mountain String Band

Todd Snider’s sardonic humor on songs like “Statistician’s Blues” would be a fantastic anthem for this election season. Yonder’s Jeff Austin and Ben Kaufmann sat in with Snider on a few songs, including a brilliant “Sideshow Blues.”

Yonder knew how to grab its crowd early Friday night, delving into a cover of the Grateful Dead’s “Shakedown Street,” with Austin using a wah pedal on his mandolin to mimic Jerry Garcia’s classic intro. On the second set opener “New Horizons,” Kaufmann’s bass dropped like a bomb, anchoring smooth solos from guitarist Adam Aijala and guest Dobro player Andy Hall. “On the Run” featured a long, dissonant jam, with Austin and banjo player Dave Johnston dancing nimbly in and out of the main melody. Larry Keel, who had started the day off in fine style, sat in with the band on several songs to close the set, including a long “Snow on the Pines.”

The USA Pro Cycling Challenge, which closed several Colorado highways Saturday, also kept the music from starting before 5:45 p.m. Greensky Bluegrass, which has turned Colorado into its home away from home this year and has garnered several comparisons to Yonder, started Saturday of with a high-energy set, punctuated early by a ripping cover of Prince’s “Purple Rain” “When Doves Cry.” At various points, the band teased “Shakedown Street,” but the highlight was a long, furious “All Four.”

Yonder hit up the Grateful Dead again early in its first Saturday set with a cover of “Jack-a-Roe.” Austin and Johnston engaged in a call-and-response jam on a long “Mother’s Only Son” in the first set, which ended with a blazing “Peace of Mind.”

The final set started with more traditional material, including another Dead-related tune, “I’ve Been All Around this World,” and a silky smooth “Another Day,” which high-lonesome vocals from Aijala. However, the set closed with a long in-and-out jam on several tunes, including “After Midnight” and “Keep in Going.

Set lists

Friday

Split Lip Rayfield
Flat Black Rag, All the Same, SweetHeart, Rig or Cross, Sin River, Aces High, Easy Street, Old #6, In the Ground, Pinball Machine, The Deck of Many Things, Love Please Come Home, How Many Biscuits Can You Eat, Don’t Believe That You’re Someone, Crazy Redneck Tailgate Dream, Used to Know Your Wife, Two Eyes Shining in the Night, I’ll Be Around -> Devil Lies, River, Kiss of Death

Todd Snider
Can’t Complain, Very Last Time, West Nashville Grand Ballroom Gown, Happy New Year, Too Soon to Tell, Statistician’s Blues, D.B. Cooper, Alright Guy, Conservative Christian Rightwing Republican Straight White American Males, Horseshoe Lake, Play a Train Song*, Ballad of the Devil’s Backbone Tavern*, Just Like Old Times*, Sideshow Blues*

*with Jeff Austin and Ben Kaufmann

Yonder Mountain String Band
Set 1: Shady Grove> Wheelhoss> Shady Grove, Sometimes I’ve Won, All The Time, Don’t Worry Happy Birthday, Out Of The Blue, Straight Line, Southern Flavor> Shakedown Street> What The Night Brings

Set 2: New Horizons> Dear Prudence> New Horizons, Pass This Way, On The Run> Pretty Daughter> On The Run, Pockets, My Gal(1)> Snow On The Pines(1)> Raleigh & Spencer(1) E: Dim Lights Thick Smoke, Going Where They Do Not Know My Name

Comment: (1) Larry Keel on guitar

Saturday

Greensky Bluegrass
Jaywalking, When Doves Cry, Lose My Way, Dust Bowl Overture, Worried About the Weather, All Four, Atlantic City, Crying Holy, Leap Year

Yonder Mountain String Band
Set 1: Rambler’s Anthem, Tie That Binds, Jack-A-Roe, High On A Hilltop, Part 1, Mothers Only Son, Gilpin Swing, Rag Doll, Pan American, Hey Bulldog, Peace of Mind> Sand> Peace of Mind

Set 2: Illinois Rain, I’ve Been All Around This World, Another Day, Someday’s Reunion, Ten> Funtime> Ten, Ripcord Blues, Left Me In A Hole, Holdin, Romance Blues, Traffic Jam> Keep On Going> After Midnight> Keep On Going> Traffic Jam

E:Reuben and Cherise, Troubled Mind -> 20 Eyes -> Troubled Mind

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Candace Horgan is a Denver freelance writer/photographer and regular contributor to Reverb. When not writing and shooting, she plays guitar and violin in Denver band Black Postcards.

  • Nina

    “[Greensky Bluegrass] …started Saturday of with a high-energy set, punctuated early by a ripping cover of Prince’s “Purple Rain.”

    Believe you meant, “When Doves Cry”