They didn’t have 3-D projections, laser lights or massive stage props, but Yonder Mountain String Band (YMSB) brought plenty of energy, heart and even a little Motown soul to the Boulder Theater during their four-night residency in Colorado to celebrate the New Year. In addition to guest performers each night, the local bluegrass favorites picked and jammed through cover songs from different decades each night.
Thursday night, mandolin impresario Sam Bush joined the band in covering a number of 1960’s classics like The Rolling Stones’ tune “Jumping Jack Flash.” But it was fiddler Allie Kral’s soaring vocals that provided the first night’s highlights by belting out Chuck Berry’s “You Never Can Tell” and Dusty Springfield’s “Son of a Preacher Man.”
New Year’s Eve highlighted 70’s classics like the Grateful Dead’s “Shakedown Street” and a percussion-led version of David Bowie’s “Ziggy Stardust.”
Local fans went foot-stomping mad on Friday night when dobro master Jerry Douglas joined Yonder for a night of 80’s-themed tunes, including Black Sabbath’s “Crazy Train” and the Cyndi Lauper favorite, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” Along with his trademark improvisational stylings, Douglas sported 80’s spirit by donning an oversized black wig.
Saturday night’s YMSB set was boosted by the presence of jazz guitarist Stanley Jordon. With dazzling and introspective fret work, he lent an introspective flair to 90’s-themed music that included old Yonder standards like “Hole” and covers like Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon.” Yonder Mountain String Band’s sound is as polished and vibrant as ever in its history even when the band reaches back into history to celebrate the future.