Album Review: Yonder Mountain String Band – Love. Ain’t Love

Bluegrass is a relative term these days: is it newgrass, folk, hillbilly, or even country music? The answer is yes…and Yonder Mountain String Band attracts fans of all genres with their progressive grassroots sound.  Ever since their debut album, Elevation, they have continued to build upon a fan base that is anchored by the jam band crowd.  Their forthcoming release, Love. Ain’t Love,  their first in two years, offers body-moving tracks for the faithful full of hard-strummed string instrumentals and campfire story sessions.

Melodic fiddle flourishes sing to the soul in opening track,Alison,as the audience is led through the bending thoughts of a love-struck man with a debilitating crush.  “Here I am watching you, I couldn’t change my mind if I wanted to…All I got is time, all I want is you,” sings banjo player Dave Johnston in his bass-tipping baritone voice. “Take a Chance on Me” is a breezy drift through a summer day, as the band’s harmonic vocals spin a tale of chasing love; their short, yet, sharply-executed solos keep the vibe upbeat.

Take a load off and sit for a spell to enjoy the old-school storytelling found in “Last of the Railroad Men,” where mainstream sounds meet familiar twangy lyrics with a Jim Croce folkicana feel (the guy who sang “Bad Bad Leroy Brown” for you young’uns out there).  “Up For Brinkley’s” drops a welcome instrumental with some intricate back and forth jamming between the banjo, mandolin, and fiddle.  Toe tappers, spinners, and partner dancers alike will find themselves lost in this high energy dance tune.

Love. Ain’t Love is a collection of tracks that expertly blends strongly-themed lyrics with high quality picking that fans have grown accustomed to expect from this iconic outfit.  Yonder Mountain continues to impress listeners and show the bluegrass world why they are one of the top acts in the genre today.  The band has a few solo shows booked across the country including burning up the festival circuit.  Go get your grass on!

Purchase Love. Ain’t Love, set for release on June 23rd via Frog Pad Records: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/love-aint-love/id1226764936

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Rich Harley

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