Yonder’s Aijala looking forward to Red Rocks homecoming


The feel of one’s own bed, neighborhood and the ability to fill a glass of water in the blind dark without tripping over something are specific benefits for homecomings after a long travel schedule. For Adam Aijala, guitarist for Yonder Mountain String Band, the feel of Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison might be getting close to the familiarity of bare feet on linoleum kitchen floors by the time their show wraps up Aug. 10.


“It is pretty cool to be on that stage. Even before I played it, it was one of the coolest places to see a show. It’s probably one of the most well-known outdoor venues in the entire world,” he said.

Aijala, who lives in Boulder, would know. Along with bandmates Jeff Austin, Dave Johnston and Ben Kaufmann, Yonder Mountain calls the nearby town of Nederland it’s spiritual home for their jam band-meets-bluegrass specialty sound. All four began as Yonder Mountain String Band 15 years ago there and has toured nearly nonstop since. The group recently celebrated their 1,500th live show on July 31. Wrapping up their 2013 tour at Red Rocks is particularly significant, he said.

“There’s a feeling that I get when I’m home, ‘This is our home,'” he said. “There’s an energy there. I don’t know if it’s because of the elevation — the crowd is right on  top of you — it’s a one-of-a-kind place.”

In 15 years of Yonder, Aijala said the band still finds inspiration in their original influences. Listening to rock and punk growing up, Aijala says influences from all over the spectrum have shaped the current Yonder sound, which is sometimes a seat-of-the-pants operation.

“I think we’re in a good space, we’ve evolved in a way and been true to our influences — and not really let a lot of outside influence in,” he said. “We can always try stuff, and we’re a really experimental band … Actually, if we’re 50 to 51 percent sure we can do it on stage, we’ll give it shot.”

That flexibility and experimentation will manifest itself on their newest EP, a compilation of the band’s favorites that haven’t made studio albums before that  Aijala said would be released later this year.

“We don’t over analyze. It’s amazing that we’ve had the same lineup over 15 years, you know? … I think why we’ve survived is because we take it seriously — we take our music seriously — but we don’t beat ourselves up over everything. We have fun and it’s the energy from people that makes it possible,” he said.

“It’s good to be home.”

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8 years ago

Aijala – with an “L”