Colorado-born jam band Yonder Mountain String Band release their vibrant new song “If Only” with its premiere on American Songwriter.
“I tested positive for coronavirus in late 2020, and while in isolation in our spare bedroom, I came up with an idea for a guitar that ended up being an introduction to the song,” said Adam Igala, guitarist and co-founder of the band.
“The zero words and the melody I came up with felt like it could be a love song of sorts and how we navigate relationships. I brought it to Ben, Dave and Nick over Zoom and we paraphrased the chorus’ lyrics and added an automated bridge. The upbeat vibe of the song makes me think the outcome for the narrator was good.”
Check out the new song below.
The release is the band’s second single from their upcoming LP, Get yourself outside. The new album is set for release on February 25 and is the first workgroup to be completed with new band member Nick Piccininni.
The bluegrass quintet – made up of Dave Johnston, Ally Krall, Ben Kaufman, Igala and Biccinini – announced the album for the first time on Friday, December 3.
“Nick is an incredibly talented multi-instrumentalist. He’s also an amazing singer with a magnetic presence on stage,” Aygala said in a statement. “He’s in such a creative space now, something that has brought a whole new feel and dynamism to the band. But, at the same time, he is naturally fit, arriving at that wonderful spot of the Yonder Mountain sound for which he has become known.”
Yonder Mountain’s sophisticated, yet consistently excellent sound emerged from a series of collaborations between YMSB artists while on the road. “This album was a learning experience for the band, from bringing in Nick, to navigating the shutdown as a nationwide traveling band to working on new material,” Kaufman said. “There is a blessing to this life to be able to play music for a living, and Get yourself outside She is a testament to that, which is why I had the pleasure to finally play these songs live.
“We want the listener to come out of your mind, and get out of the box or container you created around you — look outside and see what’s in there as well,” Kaufman continued.
“For me, it was about the accessibility and ease of use of bluegrass,” Igala added. “I really liked that music could get this really high energy, and it was just acoustic instruments, your voice, a microphone – it’s a beautiful thing.”
In conjunction with their album announcement, YMSB dropped the first single from the album on December 3, 2021. Listen to Into The Fire below.
And check out the Q&A below with Aijala for the premiere of the band’s latest single, “If Only.”
American Songwriter: How does the new song (“If Only”) fit into the larger fabric of the band’s new album?
Adam Igala: With our band and multiple songwriters, it’s always been interesting to find coherent meaning between the songs on the album. Even if there is an unintended connection, or at least, a connection can be made. I think it’s safe to say collectively that we’ve all had our fair share of “relationship songs”, for lack of a better phrase, that would fall into that category. More than half of the songs on this record fall into that category. The other common denominator is that even though we work on songs together, the music/songs produced are very specific to the individual who carries the idea of said song first. So the relevance to the “bigger fabric,” she says, lies in the song’s content and how each song can stand on its own.
AS: How do you hope the new album will provide new wind for YMSB’s sails moving forward?
AA: It’s our first record with new member, Nick Piccininni, and he’s hugely represented in it. We are all team players and know when to give our best. Nick is a great singer, writes great songs, plays most stringed instruments very well, and his energy has helped put the wind in all of our sails, specifically in our live shows. This album still has Yonder Mountain’s signature sound, although different b/c, we now have Nick’s contributions in writing, singing and playing. I know I’m in the midst of it and probably can’t really look at this new album with any objectivity, but I’m really happy with it and I love our new direction. I think it translates into our live shows.
AS: What is your favorite musical discovery of the past two years?
AA: For whatever reason, I’ve never been good at answering questions about superlatives. I honestly don’t have a favorite show, venue, band, song, etcetera. However, a great musical discovery came to me during lockdown in 2020. In the latter part of that year, we put together a bunch of song ideas and shaped the songs that would become the new record on Zoom and with file-sharing online. Being at home for most of 2020, I realized that I missed writing songs and playing shows and that as long as we had new ideas we could continue to do this for a long time. I find it surprising that I still have those feelings after being in the same band for over 23 years and it took an epidemic for me to consciously realize it.
Image courtesy of IV PR and Lucy Volpe