Part of the contract people enter into when they decide to live in Oregon dictates that they will see mountains regularly — whether that be off in the distance or from the summit of the one they’ve just climbed. While this pastoral outlook on mountains is fine and dandy, it’s often easy to forget that the mountains over yonder have an explicit feeling to them — one that can be summed up with scathing, scratchy vocal prowess, feet stomping against porchboards and the hefty plunk of a pick hitting strings — and it’s this same romanticized view of musical mountain life that shines through the smooth-hitting jamgrass music of Yonder Mountain String Band.
Defying the rather rustic archetype of jam-band culture perpetuated by groups like the Grateful Dead and Phish, Yonder Mountain have more to offer than just stoned psychedelia. Of course, this is not to say that fans aren’t fiending for a chance to sing along to tunes about marijuana, hangovers and buzz-kills, though it does provide an incredibly fun source of mature provisions alongside the childish, high-school pipedream-fulfilling hippie-burnout material offered by bands from days past.
One thing people tend to forget about improvisation is that it takes talent. Whether improvisation takes a front seat in Yonder Mountains’ live tunes is irrelevant. The fact remains: These dudes know how to play their instruments, and their show this week is guaranteed to be a riotous display of musical expertise.
Yonder Mountain String Band and Brown Bird play at 8:30 pm Thursday, April 19, at McDonald Theatre; $20 adv., $25 door.