Yonder Mountain String Band

The Yonder Mountain String Band (abbreviated YMSB) is an American progressive bluegrass group from Nederland, Colorado. Composed of Dave Johnston, Jeff Austin, Ben Kaufmann, and Adam Aljala, the band has released ten studio albums to date.


The band's history stretches back to when banjoist Dave Johnston and mandolinist Jeff Austin were still in college. Having met in Urbana, Illinois, Johnston requested Austin to join and sing in his band The Bluegrassholes. Austin, who played no instrument, revealed to Johnston that he owned a mandolin, who then told him to come to the performance and "play anything, just play fast and loud."

After the collapse of The Bluegrassholes, Johnston moved to Boulder, Colorado, in order to further his bluegrass musical skills. Similarly, Austin moved to Colorado, but instead took up residence in Nederland. Johnston soon joined him there. It was during this time in Nederland that Johnston and Austin met bassist Ben Kaufmann and guitarist Adam Aijala at a local club named the Verve. In December of 1998, the four musicians formed Yonder Mountain String Band which was to open for a band at the Fox Theatre in Boulder. They have since developed both a bluegrass and jam band fanbase, and can often be found on tour. Their debut album Elevation was released on Frog Pad Records, an independent record label run by the band, in fall 1999.

From 1999 to 2001 they performed as one of the many attractions at NedFest, a music festival held in the band's hometown. By 2000, the group was also playing larger venues, such as The Fillmore in San Francisco, California. The band has released several live albums with material from live performances, but fans are welcome to record the concert they attend for themselves, as the band is taper-friendly.


Jeff Austin - mandolin, vocals

  • Jeff Austin picked up the mandolin only a few years before forming YMSB. He will often break into a freeform scat during a song.

Ben Kaufman - bass, vocals

  • Ben Kaufmann's ability to write songs has formed a solid foundation on which the band's repertoire has grown steadily since 1998. Among his earlier compositions are, "The Bolton Stretch" (Elevation), "On the Run" (Elevation), and the epic live song "Traffic Jam" (Mtn. Tracks Vol 3).

Dave Johnston - banjo,vocals

  • Dave Johnston forms a great deal of the band's overall sound with his banjo. He sings in a low tone. Of all the members, Dave has contributed the most instrumentals, with Adam second. Jeff and Ben have put words to all of their songs.

Adam Aijala - guitar, vocals

  • Adam Aijala's guitar playing forms a framework for many of YMSB's songs. One of Adam's most well-known songs, written back in the days of Elevation, is "Left Me in a Hole."


Year Album Chart Positions
US Bluegrass US Country US Heat US Indie US Internet
1999 Elevation
2001 Town by Town
Mountain Tracks: Volume 1
2002 Mountain Tracks: Volume 2 11
2003 Old Hands 5 54
2004 Mountain Tracks: Volume 3 2 67 22
2006 Mountain Tracks: Volume 4 3 63
Yonder Mountain String Band 1 57 39 43
2008 Mountain Tracks: Volume 5 1 60

Frog Pad Records

Frog Pad Records is an independent record label run by the Yonder Mountain String Band. Used as a platform to launch their CDs, the label has since released numerous albums, as well as an anthology and some duet work by Jeff Austin and Chris Castino.


External links

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