Telluride Bluegrass Festival - Telluride, CO (June 23, 2012)

written by Lori Gleason

Telluride Town Park is such a magical venue, in a box canyon with waterfalls, mountains, and trees all around us. The people-watching is really fun too; we all had lots of fun waiting for Yonder to take the stage. Before we knew it, they dropped the ropes up front and all of the Kinfolk started lining the fence. Yonder plays one super set at this festival, but it's fully loaded with great songs. Finally they took the stage and said what an honor it was for them to be on this stage for the 13th year. Jeff said, "We have been looking forward to this for a year!" 

Peace of mind was the first song. What a great opener! They had a great jam in the middle, first with the mandolin, then Adam playing his magic. Then "Shake Me Up"> "POM"! Ben had a really groovy jam in this instrumental version of "Shake me Up", and Jeff got on his pedal with the wow-wow effect. Love it! Without missing a beat, they went right back into "Peace of Mind". Today happened to be Jeff's mother's birthday, so he thanked her for being born, and dedicated Dave's song "Don't Worry Happy Birthday" to her back in Chicago.  Adam then happlily sang "Another Day". I loved seeing Adam bounce to the song. You can tell they were all really enjoying themselves on stage and they were very interactive with the crowd. 

The new daddy, Ben Kaufman, was introduced. He said it was the best thing he ever did, Yonder was the second.  "Sorry guys, that's my boy!" He joked, in his best Scottish accent about his Lamborghinis in Moutain Village and how he gets to flaut his small willie. He tested the joke out the night before at the Opera House too! Adam said it was much more refined than last night. Then came one of my new favorite songs "Straight Line". What a great tune. The whole crowd was swaying to the music. Jeff wanted to play us a bluegrass love song, which meant something messed up was going to happen. Get evil people! Jeff belted out the Danny Barnes song "Pretty Daughter". I'm not sure what happened to start this, but the crowd was bouncing and marshmellows were being thrown at Yonder! Why? That was one hell of a marshmellow war! Adam said that he could think of worse things you could throw at them and Jeff made light of it and said that at least they weren't glow sticks! Touche! This just egged those people on and more marshmellows were being thrown. Adam joked that this was so not green! Ben said "Nothing says green like Chinese Fluff!". The topper was when Jeff said that those smores were going to be really gritty later! That was pretty funny, but didn't stop people from throwing them. "Casualty" came on next, and the dust started getting kicked up from everyone dancing! Adam was on fire in this song. Dave asked in his very polite voice "May I sing another one that I wrote with Adam?" This lead into "Pass this Way", a nice chill tune. Adam had a great solo in this song. He's such an amazing guitar player! The band apologized to the stage crew for the marshmellow mess. It was really nasty; there were even marshmallows in the Stienway piano on stage (for Bruce Hornsby). 

Next came an oldy but goody "40 Miles from Denver". It's always great to hear this song, especially in Colorado! The entire crowd was singing along. Ben thanked the crowd "Word all the way up folks!" As you know, there were many fires in Colorado this summer, and there was one several miles away, but the smoke was coming into the canyon during the day. By the time Yonder was on stage, most of the smoke had moved away. According to Jeff, this was from the crowd's great energy! I chose to believe that, too. Adam belted out a tune that was written by Bob Dylan, "Spanish Harlem Incident". This song really got the crowd moving, as always, and the whole crowd got a cheers! Then Sam Bush joined Yonder on stage... well, alright! He was warned by Dave about the projectile marshmellows. 

Jeff started riding that pedal again, and it lead into "East Nashville Easter", one of my favorite classics. Sam gave the song some high energy fiddle, and along with Dave's picking, this song rocked it! "On the Run"> "Steep Grade Sharp Curves"> "On the Run" came on fast and furious! Lots of mando, fiddle, and banjo. "Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!". They were honored about the marshmellow war and how gentle the marshmellows were. Ben said, "The best thing was at the end of the set: Yonder -1 and Marshmellows -0" The guys were kicking them like soccar balls. 

Then I thought, "Oh no! This can't be the end of the super set!!!  Whew, there's an encore." It was a 'gentle little waltz'  called "Southern Flavor"... not gentle at all! Jeff said "Let's see how much dust we can kick up!"  Well, he asked for it! As the mando was jamming, dust and dirt were flying! And with Sam's fiddle came more dust! Yeah! I watched Adam's fingers glide across the strings, like it was no effort at all. Then the song kept building and building until it was suddenly over. All I could think about was, "when will I get to see Yonder again?!"

Written by Lori Gleason, photos by Lori Gleason and Stephenie Gardner

Yonder Mountain String Band
6/23/12 Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Telluride, CO

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