© Jay Blakesberg

© Jay Blakesberg

Yonder Mountain String Band transcends bluegrass. Based in the Rockies, YMSB takes Appalachian bluegrass influences, coupled with each member’s raw musicianship, to create universally enjoyed records and unforgettable live performances. And when it comes to those live performances, no venue takes your breath away quite like Red Rocks, where YMSB will be playing on August 20th. They will be joined by Drive-By Truckers and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band– you won’t want to miss it. Read our interview with YSMB‘s Dave Johnston (banjo, vocals) below, and get your tickets to the show on Thrillcall!

Thrillcall: You’ll be playing at Red Rocks this August with Drive-By Truckers and Preservation Hall Jazz Band, which will be a great night in your hometown. You’ve called Red Rocks the “peak experience” for live music; what other venues are your favorite to play?

Dave Johnston: I really love so many venues. It’s hard to name the favorites without considering that every room on any given night can have a great vibe that leads to a great night. Some of the places that seem to me to be hotspots for that sort of thing are Telluride and Planet Bluegrass in Lyons. The Boulder Theater can really scream too. I love the Fillmore in SF, Stubbs in Austin, the Brooklyn Bowl. There are so many.

T: Your most recent album, Black Sheep, was a fresh effort from the band, with new band members. How did the writing process for this record differ from others from the band’s previous studio recordings?

DJ: Hard to say. Process is one of those mysteries that I have a hard time qualifying. I guess we had to consider parts a little more but essentially we let everyone try to be themselves and bring their own strengths to the table.


T: Have you noticed any changes to your live show since the release of Black Sheep?

DJ: I sing a lot more in the punk rock fashion.


Get your tickets to see Yonder Mountain String Band, Drive-By Truckers, and Preservation Hall Jazz Band at Red Rocks on August 20th!


T: You guys like to mix your original music with plenty of re-invented covers of classic songs at your live shows. What is your favorite song or artist to cover?

DJ: We don’t really have a favorite as much as we have a type of song that we like, which is to say anything that can go fast.


T: What’s on the horizon for YMSB?

DJ: More music. More writing and jamming and jumping off the cliff to see what is going to happen. Come on along. It’s fun.