Yonder Mountain String Band at Revolution Live February 4

It's not surprising that the majority of Yonder Mountain String Band's record catalog is culled from live performances. A foremost proponent of the so-called "new grass" phenomenon (think the Dead or Phish), the band couples guitars with banjos, bouzouki, and mandolins to spur the communal enthusiasm. Investigate YMSB's last album, The Show, an opus coupling the frenzy of a concert with melodies that linger long after.

Now in its 12th year as an active ensemble, Yonder Mountain String Band regularly appears at the nation's major bluegrass gatherings, particularly in its native Colorado, where headline status is guaranteed. But the band has also courted a broader audience by tapping the talents of producer Tom Rothrock, who has worked with the Foo Fighters, Beck, and Elliott Smith. The experience is very down-home, from the back-porch arrangements and instrumentation to the band's own Boulder, Colorado-based Frog Pad Records imprint. Our advice? Opt for extremes — experience that down-home demeanor while indulging in a genuine Rocky Mountain high.

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Lee Zimmerman