With 17 years of heavy touring under their belts, Yonder Mountain String Band has become one of the biggest names on the bluegrass circuit. By mixing elements of traditional bluegrass with deep improvisational inclinations and a rock ‘n’ roll edge–call it “jamgrass” if you must–they’ve developed an exciting and original style. The brand new album, Black Sheep, is their first with a recently reconfigured lineup that finds talented new members Jake Jolliff (mandolin) and Allie Kral (fiddle) joining the core of Adam Aijala (guitar), Ben Kaufmann (bass), and Dave Johnston (banjo). For Sessions, the quintet offers a sharp performance of three songs from Black Sheep, and we also chat with Aijala and Kaufmann about the new album and lineup, their love of Collings guitars, and their current standing in “proper bluegrass society.”
Special thanks to our friends at the Den at the Fox Theater, Oakland, California.