With tracks running as long as 33 minutes but never bogging down in directionless noodling, the new live release from Yonder Mountain String Band matches quality with quantity.
And it’s free.
Hines’ Finds Volume One: Spring Tour 2018 collects seven tracks – spanning more than two hours – from the band’s spring tour and presents them in soundboard-quality sound that makes every instrument, every note, stand out individually, even in the midst of lengthy, ensemble workouts such as the opening, 21-minute “Winds of Wyoming,” an early highlight.
Available on SoundCloud, Hines’ Finds represents the first in a planned series of live releases curated by the quintet and its soundman Ben Hines that aims to “bring you that mysterious energy that rises up from our hearts to yours” when the ban is on stage, banjoist Dave Johnston said in a statement.
Across original numbers and covers including the Grateful Dead’s “Fire on the Mountain” and Talking Heads’ “Girlfriend is Better,” the five musicians play with fire and employ a seemingly endless bevy of effects and filters to make acoustic guitars and mandolins sound electric and to make Appalachian-inspired string music sound symphonic.
And there is, of course, plenty of bluegrass.
Hines’ Fines is a lot to digest in a single setting and even the most ardent jam fan might be happy to have a couple of shorter numbers tossed in break up the instrumental showpieces and paint a more representative picture of a typical YMSB show. But perhaps the point of Volume One was simply to show the band at its improvisational peak – and if that’s the case, it’s highly successful, if a bit dense.