Interview With Yonder Mountain
Adam Aijala says Yonder Mountain String Band has never been a group to plot out its career – or just about anything the group does. To hear him tell it, there was no strategy to the path that has carried the group from do-it-yourself upstarts that self-released its early albums to a place where it is now one of the leading acts on the bluegrass/jam band scene. These guys couldn’t be calculated if they were math majors.
“That’s kind of the way we do it,” guitarist/singer Aijala said in a recent phone interview. “It seems like from the very beginning, even our shows are like that. We don’t play the same set every night. We’re always kind of winging it in general. I’d like in the business sense to maybe not wing it as much, but as far as the artistic side, I like that element of it.”
So perhaps it’s not surprising that when Yonder Mountain String Band’s future was thrown into question in April of 2014 — after mandolin player Jeff Austin left the group,— there was no clear plan for how to move forward. Now, some 20 months later, Yonder Mountain has come out of that time of uncertainty smelling like a rose. Two new members have joined — mandolin player/singer Jacob Jolliff and violinist/singer Allie Kral — and the group is moving full speed ahead.
“The way it all played out was not planned at all. We didn’t know what was going to happen,” Aijala said, when asked about confronting the Austin-less future. “We had some people in mind other than the people we’re playing with. And the way it worked out, I think, I really hope they (Jolliff and Kral) stick around. I love playing with them. They’re having a blast, too. I always check in to make sure they’re still cool. They’re loving it. Maybe this will be something that goes on for awhile.” Kral, in a case of excellent timing, crossed paths with Yonder Mountain just before the split with Austin occurred.
– Alan Sculley – Planet Weekly