Yonder Mountain String Band Opens Winter Tour With A Bang

The Bluebird in Bloomington Indiana was the perfect setting to kick off Yonder mountain String Band’s (YMSB) 2017 Winter Tour. The temperature outside was in the upper 40’s, which is considerably mild for the middle of January. Inside though, things were heating up nicely as the anticipation grew in the crowd fitting into this intimate venue where you can get within five feet of the performing band.

The Railsplitters started off the evening’s festivities by delivering a set filled with straight forward high energy songs intertwined with superb vocal harmonies and instrumental precision. Based out of Boulder Colorado the Railsplitters originally had more of a traditional bluegrass sound to their music. Because of their various musical influences and touring to share their music, their sound has become more progressive in style while still holding on to their bluegrass roots. Lauren Stoval (guitar) & Dusty Rider (banjo) share most of the lead vocals while being backed up by Pete Sharpe (mandolin), Leslie Ziegler (upright bass) & Joe D’Esposito (fiddle). Although most of the songs performed during their set were originals, they also included covers of Jim & Jesse’s “Sweet Little Miss Blue Eyes”, the Dillard’s “Whole World Round” & Built To Spill’s “Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss”. This was my 1st time seeing the Railsplitters and after that performance I’ll definitely have to see them again.

Now it was Yonder Mountain’s turn. The opening song “Around You” had a special feeling within the intimacy of the Bluebird as everyone moved and grooved as one unit. Throughout the set each member had the opportunity to highlight their instrumental prowess and vocal harmonies that showcases each of them individually and as a cohesive unit. Adam Aijala’s guitar work and vocals shown on “Rain Still Falls” & “I’m Lost”. Bassist Ben Kaufmann sang two of my favorites, “40 Miles To Denver” & the Talking Heads “Girlfriend Is Better”. Another highlight was Allie Kral singing Dolly Parton’s “Jolene”. I get goosebumps every time I hear her sing this song. She also stood out on “Love Before You Can” & the Del McCoury Band’s “All Aboard”. Jake Joliff always amazes me with his mandolin picking. He’s one of the best at his instrument, but it looks so easy for him as he picks & glides his fingers up and down. Jake also killed it vocally on the Eagle’s “Life In The Fastlane”. Last but not least, Dave Johnston on banjo sang my favorite song of the evening during the encore, Lou Reed’s “Walk On The Wildside”. The crowd was singing along and YMSB followed with “Sharecroppers Son” to close out the evening.

The show was non-stop energy from start to finish and every one was smiling and they left all sweaty & worn out from constantly dancing all night. Even though everybody was going home happy, they were ready for more. I have seen Yonder more than 50 times and I’m always amazed at how they are always evolving. By learning new music, having theme nights & doing different sets of music every night, YMSB makes sure each show is unique.

Here’s a link to all the pictures taken:

Posted by Tom Wickstrom on Saturday, January 21, 2017

Setlists at bottom of page.



  • Jump In
  • Lessons I’ve Learned
  • Sweet Little Miss Blue Eyes *(Jim & Jesse)
  • Lemon Lime
  • Citronella
  • Everyone She Meets
  • You
  • To Do
  • Tilt-A-Whirl
  • Evil Apple
  • Whole World Round *(Dillards)
  • Planted On The Ground
  • My World
  • Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss *(Built To Spill)


  • Around You
  • Rain Still Falls
  • High On A Hilltop
  • Far From You
  • Pass This Way >
  • EMD > Pass This Way
  • Holland
  • I’m Lost
  • Jolene Dolly Parton)
  • Don’t Cry Blue
  • Honestly
  • Love Before You Can’t
  • Another Day
  • 40 Miles From Denver
  • Life in The Fastlane (Eagles)
  • All Aboard (Del McCoury Band) >
  • New Dusty >
  • Girlfriend Is Better (Talking Heads) >
  • All Aboard


  • Walk On The Wildside (Lou Reed)
  • Sharecroppers Son

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