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Yonder Mountain String Band has been back to touring since the beginning of summer 2021 after a pandemic-induced hiatus that lasted more than a year. The break was quite an adjustment. Live shows are, after all, how the iconic Colorado bluegrass group—Ben Kaufmann (bass), Dave Johnston (banjo), Allie Kral (fiddle), Nick Piccinni (multi-instrumentalist), and Adam Aijala (guitar)—has made a living for the past 23 years. But Kaufmann is clearly still reveling in one of the few upsides of the sabbatical: The time away from the stage allowed the band to work on new tunes in a way it never has before. “When you’re playing shows and on the bus and on to the next city, there’s little time for critical analysis,” Kaufmann says. “This time, we could go back and forth and actually preproduce for months.” The result, Kaufmann says, is a cohesive record that they made at Cinder Sound Studio in Longmont. Although the 46-year-old says fans will definitely notice new band member Piccinni’s contributions to Get Yourself Outside (on sale February 24), he also promises that Yonder Mountain’s progressive bluegrass sound is still there for die-hard aficionados.
See Them Live: Yonder Mountain String Band plays February 25 to 27 at the WinterWonderGrass festival in Steamboat Springs.