Yonder Mountain String Band Explains Their "Great Musical Coup"
How does that affect what you do in the studio? Do you write and record with an awareness of how those songs will translate on stage? And do you think you achieve the same effect in the studio as you do on stage?
Adam: It's a fact that stage and studio are two very different animals. When we're in the studio, our goal on our last few recording sessions has been to try to capture some of the energy we cycle to and from the fans in the live setting. It's really hard and virtually impossible to replicate, but I do enjoy being in the studio. I think one of the reasons I like the studio is that you can do things that aren't possible onstage, like layering with different instruments, using new effects, doing multiple takes of a solo section, etcetera.
Speaking personally, I write what I'm feeling in that given moment, and whether it translates to Yonder and the stage is sometimes immediately obvious, while other times it's more apparent once it's being performed.
Ben: There's no way to compare the studio recordings to the live show. The energy behind what you're trying to accomplish is so different. Speaking personally about songwriting, I don't write specifically for stage or studio. Some songs will live and breathe more fully in the studio. Others come alive on stage.
Why do you think that bluegrass and the jam band mentality seem to meld so well?
Adam: Good question. I don't think it always did, but when both scenes are bringing a bit of Grateful Dead mentality into their music, there's bound to be crossover. By that, I mean more exploratory, less structured sections of songs.
Ben: What we're talking about here is improvisational music. In bluegrass you improvise over a few measures. The jam band improvises over longer stretches of time. So there's that common theme. A good jam band makes those longer stretches of time interesting and compelling. That said, I can take you to some bluegrass festivals where a jam band would go over only slightly better than a football in the groin.
Can you give us some hints about your forthcoming album?
Ben: Recording started in Chicago in October. So far, it's a song from each band member. There's a part of me that wants to release it as an EP.
Adam: It's looking like it will be an EP at this point. We've had a bit of time to evaluate and examine the current state of the record industry and our conclusion is that people just want content. I feel like for a band like us, it doesn't matter if we have an entire album, one song, some videos or whatever. Fans just want new stuff. This is coming from a guy in a band that hasn't had a record since Fall of 2009. Sorry, folks, but new stuff is on the way.
Your base is in Nederland Colorado. How do you think your sound will translate to South Florida? Given the geographical differences, do you need to alter your approach for an audience like you'll find down here?
Adam: In the past, we may have altered our sets slightly for more traditional bluegrass festivals, but not anymore. We sometimes tailor a set if we're playing a rocking festival at midnight -- meaning we're not going to break out many slow songs. I think we do fairly well in South Florida considering there's probably not a huge bluegrass contingency down there. Folks love us in St. Pete, so I see no reason why Fort Lauderdale can't share the same feelings.
Ben: I've never found a need to adjust how we perform based on the part of the world we're in. Of course, if you're playing the Opry you clean yourself up first.
onder Mountain String Band performs at 8 p.m. on Friday, January 18, at the Culture Room, 3045 North Federal Highway. Tickets cost $22.50. Call 954-564-1074, or visit cultureroom.net.