Yonder Mountain String Band

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Yonder Mountain String Band
The band performing on April 21, 2007 at the Fillmore in San Francisco.
Background information
Origin Nederland, Colorado, United States
Genres Progressive bluegrass, country, jam band
Years active 1998 – present
Labels Frog Pad
SCI Fidelity
Website www.yondermountain.com
Members Dave Johnston
Ben Kaufmann
Adam Aijala
Past members Jeff Austin

The Yonder Mountain String Band (abbreviated YMSB and referred to by some as just "Yonder") is an American progressive bluegrass group from Nederland, Colorado. Composed of Dave Johnston, Ben Kaufmann, and Adam Aijala, the band has released five studio albums and several live recordings to date. As of April 23, 2014, Jeff Austin is no longer a member of Yonder Mountain String Band. Citing creative differences and conflicting career goals, the band announced an amicable parting of ways.[1]


Having met in Urbana, Illinois, Johnston requested Austin to join and sing in his band The Bluegrassholes. Austin, who played no instrument, revealed to Johnston that he owned a mandolin, who then told him to come to the performance and "play anything, just play fast and loud."[2]

After the collapse of The Bluegrassholes, Johnston moved to Boulder, Colorado, in order to further his bluegrass musical skills. Similarly, Austin moved to Colorado, but instead took up residence in Nederland. Johnston soon joined him there.[3] It was during this time in Nederland that Johnston and Austin met bassist Ben Kaufmann and guitarist Adam Aijala at a local club named the Verve.[3] In December 1998, the four musicians formed Yonder Mountain String Band which was to open for a band at the Fox Theatre in Boulder. They have since developed both a bluegrass and jam band fanbase, and can often be found on tour. Their debut album Elevation was released on Frog Pad Records, an independent record label run by the band, in fall 1999.

From 1999 to 2001 they performed as one of the many attractions at NedFest,[4] a music festival held in the band's hometown. By 2000, the group was also playing larger venues, such as The Fillmore in San Francisco, California. The band has released several live albums with material from live performances, but fans are welcome to record the concert they attend for themselves, as the band is taper-friendly. Check out the high quality DAT recordings of years 2000-2003 provided by "integral part", Josh Parsons.

In 2005, their recording of "Think for Yourself" was included on the album This Bird Has Flown – A 40th Anniversary Tribute to the Beatles' Rubber Soul.

In 2008, the band performed at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver.

In 2010, it was revealed that Yonder Mountain would host its very own music festival at Mulberry Mountain in Ozark, Arkansas called Yonder Mountain's Harvest Festival. This is the same site where the larger Wakarusa festival is held and where the previous Mulberry Mountain Harvest Fest was held. The festival is back again in 2011 during October 13 through the 16th. As well as Yonder Mountain on the top bill for three nights, the headliners includes Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, the Simcha Aknin Band, Railroad Earth and the Emmitt-Nershi Band.[5]

In April 2014 it was revealed that Jeff Austin would be leaving the band due to creative differences.[6]


Ben Kaufmann at DelFest, 2010
Adam Aijala at DelFest, 2010
Ben Kaufmann, left, and Jeff Austin at Soundstage in Baltimore, 2012.

Jeff Austin - mandolin, vocals (1998-2014)

  • Jeff Austin picked up the mandolin only a few years before forming YMSB. He will often break into a freeform scat during a song.

Ben Kaufmann - bass, vocals

  • Ben Kaufmann's ability to write songs has formed a solid foundation on which the band's repertoire has grown steadily since 1998. Among his earlier compositions are, "The Bolton Stretch" (Elevation), "On the Run" (Elevation), and the epic live song "Traffic Jam" (Mountain Tracks, Vol. 3).

Dave Johnston - banjo, vocals

  • Dave Johnston forms a great deal of the band's overall sound with his banjo. He sings in a low tone. Of all the members, Dave has contributed the most instrumentals, with Adam second. Jeff and Ben have put words to most of their songs.

Adam Aijala - guitar, vocals

  • Adam Aijala's guitar playing forms a framework for many of YMSB's songs. One of Adam's most well-known songs, written back in the days of Elevation, is "Left Me in a Hole."


Title Album details Peak chart positions
US Grass US Country US Heat US Indie
Mountain Tracks: Volume 1
  • Release date: November 30, 2000
  • Label: Frog Pad Records
Town by Town
  • Release date: September 7, 2001
  • Label: Frog Pad Records
Mountain Tracks: Volume 2
  • Release date: August 20, 2002
  • Label: Frog Pad Records
Old Hands
  • Release date: June 17, 2003
  • Label: Frog Pad Records
5 54
Mountain Tracks: Volume 3
  • Release date: September 14, 2004
  • Label: Frog Pad Records
2 67
Mountain Tracks: Volume 4
  • Release date: February 7, 2006
  • Label: Frog Pad Records
3 63
Yonder Mountain String Band 1 57 39 43
Mountain Tracks: Volume 5
  • Release date: April 15, 2008
  • Label: Frog Pad Records
1 60
The Show
  • Release date: August 31, 2009
  • Label: Frog Pad Records
1 19
"—" denotes releases that did not chart

Frog Pad Records[edit]

Frog Pad Records is an independent record label run by the Yonder Mountain String Band.[7] Used as a platform to launch their CDs, the label has since released numerous albums, as well as an anthology and some duet work by Jeff Austin and Chris Castino.[8]


  1. ^ http://www.jambands.com/news/2014/04/23/jeff-austin-leaving-yonder-mountain-string-band/
  2. ^ Yonder Mountain Enterprises (2001). "Yonder Mountain String Band; Biography of Jeff Austin". Yonder Mountain Enterprises. Archived from the original on 2006-11-11. Retrieved 2006-11-28. 
  3. ^ a b Ruhlmann, William. Biography for Yonder Mountain String Band at AllMusic. Retrieved 2006-11-28.
  4. ^ NedFest (2006). "NedFest; Nederland Music and Arts Festival". NedFest. Retrieved 2006-11-28. 
  5. ^ HeadStash (2011). "Harvest Fest 2011". HeadStash. Retrieved 2011-06-12. 
  6. ^ http://www.yondermountain.com
  7. ^ "Frog Pad Records" (shtml). Frog Pad Records. 2003. Retrieved 2006-12-07. 
  8. ^ "Frog Pad Records Catalog" (shtml). Frog Pad Records. 2003. Retrieved 2006-12-07. 

External links[edit]