Yonder Mountain String Band @ Jannus Landing in St. Petersburg, FL (Via @YonderMountain Instagram)
It’s been a strange tour for the Yonder Mountain String Band. Most obviously, they are missing their fearless leader as Jeff Austin stays at home for the first moments of his new baby daughter’s life. Ronnie McCoury and Jason Carter begin the tour with a bang, Del McCoury and Andy Falco (of Infamous Stringdusters) are sitting in, setlists are killing it and then the band gets stuck in gridlock, southeastern, snow-storm traffic.
Luckily we are dealing with a certain type of world-class musician here. These guys stay warm year-round, musically speaking, and a couple days couped up in a tour bus only means they are really ready to pick some music for their beloved kinfolk, as bassist Ben Kaufmann said at the very beginning of the 3-hour, double set bluegrass extravaganza that is a Yonder show.
The set started off with a blitz as the band picked in to their “Troubled Mind > 20 Eyes > Troubled Mind” medley. Banjo player Dave Johnston then led us in “Ripcord Blues” before “Straight Line” and one of my personal favorites, “All The Time.”
Things really got going when “I Know You Rider” kicked off a big sing-a-long, following with Andy Falco and Robbie McCoury joining the pickin’ party. Four songs worth of jammin’ bluegrass later, the band took their set break.
Second set kicked off with another jamwhich, this time sliding the classic “Wheel Hoss” in between “Freeborn Man.” The band took turns singing and pickin’ solos as the Friday-night Jannus Landing crowd braved the rain that was coming on-and-off. It proved to be nothing some dancing around couldn’t fix, because I don’t think hardly anybody actually cared! As the night grew late and the munchies started to kick in, the band also ended things with another jamwhich and encored with “Walkin’ Shoes.” Glad to have seen these guys on a beautiful, outdoor, Florida, winter night.
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