When a band decides to take a new direction on an album, the result is usually hit or miss.
One of two things is likely to happen: The band’s new creative route can disappoint its existing fan base, or it will not only succeed in pleasing the fan bas but will also hook swarms of new fans while transcending musical genres. In the case of Yonder Mountain Spring Band’s third release, Old Hands, the group unquestionably hit the mark. Touring on the strength of the 2004 release, YMSB is swinging through Tampa Theatre on Wednesday night.
Primarily known as a bluegrass jam band, the success of Old Hands has hurled YMSB into genres such as folk, country and Americana. The quartet from the foothills of Colorado decided to team up with close friend and fellow bluegrass singer/songwriter Benny Galloway for the album’s production. The collaboration showcased songs from Galloway’s collection, as well as his vocals on “Big Lights,” “Sleepy Cowboy,” “Everytime” and “Behold The Rock Of Ages.”
YMSB is comprised of Jeff Austin on mandolin, Adam Aijala on acoustic guitar, Dave Johnson on banjo and Ben Kaufmann on the upright bass. Each member contributes to the vocals and background harmonies. The live show promises an energetic collection of songs with the occasional cover.
In true jam band fashion, YMSB released its third live album, titled Mountain Tracks Vol. 3, in September 2003. This two-disc album (recorded at the 2003 Kinfolk Celebration) rose to the No. 2 spot of the Top Bluegrass Albums music charts in Billboard magazine. This accelerated rise is evidence that the band’s live performances are not to be missed. Playing festival after festival, YMSB shows continue to grow in popularity and scope. The group’s noted diversity of style has landed it stage time alongside a variety of artists such as Fatboy Slim, Keller Williams, Wilco and The Beach Boys.
Singer-songwriter Tony Furtado will open for the band. The show is at Tampa Theatre on Wednesday. Tickets are $20; doors open at 7:30 p.m.