Progressive Bluegrass Stuck in a Rut
I’ve never really taken to the bluegrass-cum-jam band style of Yonder Mountain String Band. Charmed—yes—but taken? Not so much. Bluegrass for people who don’t really like bluegrass, Yonder Mountain hasn’t made much career progress for a band sometimes shuffled under the progressive bluegrass label. Of course, progress in bluegrass terms isn’t exactly the point, but neither is standing still. Like most of the band’s work, songwriting duties on EP13 are split here (each member contributes a song), so this brief release has at least that vaguely democratic conceit going for it. But mostly, there’s little here to admire—a passing bluegrass guitar lick or a fleeting bit of melody that might cause you to prick up your ears—but Adam Aijala more or less hits the nail on the head in “All the Time” when he points out, “Nothing new, it’s all the same.” He’s not talking about the music, of course, but he might as well be.
// Notes from the Road
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