DAN ALDERMAN, Adventure guy, Austin, Texas
All Who Yonder Are Not Lost
“There is a road, no simple highway, between the dawn and the dark of night. And if you go no one my follow, that path is for your steps alone”…Jerry Garcia.
From the day the tickets went on sale, I had been looking forward to this show for a handful of reasons. First, since I picked up the CD (remember those) Mountain Tracks Volume 2 seventeen years ago, I have been a huge fan of the progressive bluegrass jamband Yonder Mountain String Band http://www.yondermountain.com/. The quintet from Colorado has been paving the way for many bands in the bluegrass and jam scene with headlining gigs at festivals like Strings & Sol, Northwest String Summit and Telluride Bluegrass Festival. But this night was an intimate show at one of Austin’s true gems – The Historic Scoot Inn https://scootinnaustin.com/.
Trippin’ Back In Time
The Historic Scoot Inn is located in a really cool area of East Austin and claims to be the oldest continuously running beer joint in Central Texas. Built in 1871, the Scoot was a railroad stop for weary pioneers rolling through for a jug of beer or other rations. The iconic landmark was purchased by Aubrey “Scoot” Ivy in 1955 when they renamed it and turned it into a saloon and music venue.
Is Swearengen Around
The Historic Scoot Inn is equal parts old west saloon, your grandmother’s house and perfect outdoor live music venue. Walking up you get the feeling like you’re about to dive into something from Deadwood complete with weathered red paint and posts to hitch your horse. But once inside “Ivy’s Room”, you’re surrounded by vintage furniture, ornate wallpaper, a piano and lighting that truly sends you back to a simpler time. As you make your way out back, the space opens up to reveal one of the best outdoor music venues in Austin.
A Perfect Austin Night
Unlike some outdoor venues in Austin, the positioning of the stage, relative to the crowd, is set up to provide an intimate experience while still feeling like you’re in the pack. Because the stage sits in a corner of the property, the area fans out giving everyone an amazing vantage point whether you are stage-left, stage-right or hanging in the back near the porch bar. The venue has clear sightlines and the audio projects perfectly while making you feel like you’re hanging out in a buddies backyard.
Thanks For Playing My Song
After hanging out for a bit, chatting with the merch guy and another live music junkie who was taping the show, opening band Dangermuffin https://www.dangermuffinmusic.com/ from Folly Beach, SC came on to warm up the crowd with an energetic acoustic set. This was only their second show on this leg of the YMSB tour and you could feel their excitement opening up for a band they had been fans of for years. Beaming from ear-to-ear during the whole 45-minute set, lead singer Dan Lotti’s energy was infectious. And when they closed with Ripple by the Grateful Dead (which is one of my favorite songs) and everyone sang along, I knew this was only an appetizer to what Yonder was going to bring.
Hines Finds Volume 3 Release
Everyone who came out to see Yonder Mountain String Band at the Historic Scoot Inn that night was in for a treat because the band had just released a new live album earlier that day. Curated by audio engineer Ben Hines, Hines Finds Volume Three is an eight-track compilation of covers from YMSB’s recent winter tour. With bluegrass versions of “I Can’t Go For That” (Hall and Oates), “Gone Daddy Gone” (Violent Femmes) and “Rock With You” (Michael Jackson) among others, I was stoked to see what they were going to pull out.
The Main Course
After a few pleasantries from frontman and bassist Ben Kaufmann, the band ripped into “Another Day” which is a Yonder Mountain classic that features guitarist Adam Aijala on vocals. Next up was banjo player Dave Johnston with a traditional bluegrass song “Little Lover” followed by Ben singing the harmonic “Around You”. Once the band was warmed up, things got turned up a notch.
Yeah, That Kicked Ass
Fiddler Allie Kral, who is the band’s spark plug and basically kicks ass, ripped into a soulful version of “Son of Preacher Man” that went into “Jail Song”, Yonder Mountain String Band classic “40 Miles From Denver”, Tom Petty ripper “I Need to Know”, Dolly Parton cover “Jolene” and “I’ve Always Been Crazy” by Waylon Jennings. The whirlwind of jamming bluegrass continued and Adam closed out the 90-minute set with an unexpected version of “Fade To Black” by Metallica.
After a short break, the band returned to the stage with Dan Lotti of Dangermuffin who had the most joyful look on his face, to play a two-song encore. Keeping with the Grateful Dead encore theme, the boys went into a classic version of “Friend Of The Devil” with Lotti taking the vocals. The show then wrapped it up with the Dillard/Hartford/Dillard classic “Two Hits and the Joint Turned Brown”.
A Perma-Grin Night
Maybe it was the feeling of that 150 year old building, Dan Lotti’s positive vibes or Yonder Mountain String Band’s new release but the night far exceeded my expectations. From the first happy hour Peacemaker Ale that hit my lips a few blocks away at EastSide Tavern https://www.eastsidetavernaustin.com/ until I poured onto E. 4th Street with the other jamband fans at midnight it was a high energy affair. Plan a night at the Historic Scoot Inn in East Austin soon and catch one of these upcoming shows:
The Strumbellas – Saturday May 11th
Deer Tick – Tuesday May 14th
Lovelytheband – Wednesday May 15th
Duff McKagan & Shooter Jennings – Monday June 10th
Yacht Rock Revue – Friday June 14th (this should be a blast!)
Son Volt – Wednesday June 19th
Jamestown Revival – Saturday August 17th