Special Guests

As with Kinfolk Celebrations of yore, several additional bands will be playing the main stage each afternoon as a spirited kickoff to the day's musical celebration. These are bands with close ties to Yonder Mountain – bands that Adam, Ben, and Dave will be enjoying in the crowd alongside the kinfolk (that is, if they're not joining-in onstage).


Kinfolk Celebration Performers

John Bell of Widespread Panic
guest performer with Yonder on Friday night
As lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist for Widespread Panic John Bell (JB) knows what it takes to make a band work. What started as a few friends picking guitars at the University of Georgia has evolved into one of the most successful rock bands in the world. In their nearly 30 years together they’ve sold over 3 million albums and are consistently one of Pollstar’s Top 50 grossing live acts. Top
Ronnie McCoury
guest performer with Yonder on Saturday night
Ronnie McCoury was born in York County, Pennsylvania on March 16, 1967. It was in York County that he made his home for the first 24 years of his life. In January of 1992, Ronnie and his wife Allison made the move to Nashville, TN and it is here they have resided since that time. Growing up in a house where bluegrass music was played, and always listened to, Ron had the exposure from a very young age. Many pickin’ parties were held at the house, along with rehearsals that his Dad would have with his band then, The Dixie Pals. Like lots of other young boys, sports interested Ronnie very much. In particular, baseball and basketball. [more...] One thing he clearly remembers is the fact that his dad never pushed him to play music or never “pushed it on him” at all, leaving both Ron and Rob to choose their paths on their own. At the age of 9 he started taking violin lessons. He took the lessons for two years and gave it up for sports. He played sports all the way through high school. But when he was just 13, after attending a show with his Dad where he saw Bill Monroe perform, he decided that he wanted to play the mandolin. He practiced on it for six months and when his Dad had an opening in the band for mandolin player, he asked Ron to fill it. That was on May 28, 1981 and Ronnie has been playing with his Dad ever since.

In 1995 Ronnie and Rob teamed up and put out a self-titled CD on Rounder Records. In 1998 Ronnie teamed up with David Grisman and some other great mandolin players to create the CD titled “Mandolin Extravaganza”, which made it’s appearance on the Acoustic Disc label in 1999. This CD was nominated for a Grammy Award and also won Instrumental Album of the Year and Recorded Event of the Year at the IBMA awards show in October of 2000. In 1999, Ronnie co-produced The Mountain, with Steve Earle and The Del McCoury Band. 2000 also brought along with it Ronnie’s first solo project…Heartbreak Town. A must hear for everyone!

Ronnie is married to Allison Bliss from Massachusetts and they have three children, Evan, Joshua and Emma. Someone once asked Ronnie what his greatest accomplishments were, musically or non and his first response was “Starting my own family”. Next in line was receiving the Grammy for “The Company We Keep”. Family life is very important to the McCourys. Having children inspired Ronnie to put out his next project, Little ‘Mo McCoury, a CD full of children’s songs done Bluegrass style.

Along with his award winning mandolin playing, Ronnie is also a singer/songwriter and producer He has recorded or performed with such diverse acts as Bill Monroe, Earl Scruggs, Phish, Charlie Daniels, John Hartford, Vince Gill, Loretta Lynn, Alison Krauss, David Grisman, Dierks Bentley, Garth Brooks, the Allman Brothers, John Paul Jones and countless others!

When Ron isn’t on stage with the Del McCoury Band or The Travelin’ McCoury’s, singing and playing mandolin, you will probably find him at home with his family. He enjoys cooking, gardening and reading. He loves to play golf, remodel and do construction work. He also enjoys picking up the guitar or maybe even the fiddle for a little musical change. [less...]
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Jason Carter
guest performer with Yonder on Saturday night
Jason Carter was born February 1, 1973 in Ashland, Kentucky. He grew up in Greenup County. His dad started teaching him guitar when he was eight years old, and a few years later he started on mandolin. It was all he wanted to do. Through his high school years, Jason was able to attend several bluegrass festivals, courtesy of his dad and uncle. He kept on trying to learn those Tony Rice guitar breaks, that was much more interesting then his biology homework! When he was 16 years old Jason heard Del McCoury for the first time…and that’s when he picked up the fiddle. [more...]

The summer of 1991 brought a close to his high school years and it was also the year he landed his first professional job. He worked six months for The Goins Brothers playing fiddle and traveling mostly on the East Coast. In February of 1992 The Goins Brothers played in Nashville, TN with Del McCoury; Jason asked him for a job. Two weeks later he was back in Nashville trying out. They played in Nashville, West Memphis and Garland, TX and when they got home they told him that he had the job. He’s been with the band ever since.

Since then Jason has relocated to Nashville and it’s been more than a dream come true for him. He feels very fortunate to be able to play with some of his musical heros and to travel the world playing bluegrass music.

Jason’s interests besides his music include sports of any kind, gardening and spending time at home with his wife. When asked what the best thing about being in The Del McCoury Band was he replied, “It’s hard to list only one thing. Of course the music, the friendships, playing in Europe and on the Grand Ole Opry, Jean’s cookin’!! But most of all standing on stage, watching Del sing and play his guitar.” [less...]
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The Travelin' McCourys
Saturday, September 20
The Travelin’ McCourys do not stand still. They are on the road—and online—entertaining audiences with live shows that include some of the best musicians and singers from all genres. It’s always different, always exciting, and always great music. No other band today has the same credentials for playing traditional and progressive music. As the sons of bluegrass legend Del McCoury, Ronnie McCoury on mandolin and Rob McCoury on banjo continue their father’s work—a lifelong dedication to the power of bluegrass music to bring joy into people’s lives. [more...] And with fiddler Jason Carter and bassist Alan Bartram, the ensemble is loved and respected by the bluegrass faithful. But the band is now combining their sound with others to make something fresh and rejuvenating.

They recently played with the Allman Brothers at Wanee Fest and then brought the house down at Warren Haynes’ Annual Christmas Jam, an invitation only Southern Rock homecoming.  Their jam with the Lee Boys was hailed by many as the highlight of the evening, and once word of the live video hit the streets, sent new fans online to watch a supercharged combination of sacred steel, R&B, and bluegrass. They’ve also performed with Warren Haynes, Phish, and have a tour scheduled with the aforementioned Lee Boys. Ronnie McCoury described it as “peanut butter and jelly.” It was just right.

They can push forward so far because their roots are so deep. The band has a confidence that only comes with having paid their dues with twenty years on the bluegrass road. Other groups and new fans hear this immediately—the tight rhythm, the soulful material, and the confidence in taking bluegrass from the safety of the shore into uncharted waters.

Ronnie says, “We like to go in and play traditional bluegrass music the way we do it with Dad, but we also like to be able to step into situations where we can really stretch out. If we need to plug in, we’ll plug in. We’re open to anything.”

It’s that attitude, backed up by talent, that marks great musicians, traditional or progressive. The Travelin’ McCourys are twenty-first century musical pilgrims and adventurers. They’re onto something new, just like Bill Monroe was in the 1940s, but now we can see and hear that adventure live or online. Go see them, or—if you hold still long enough—they’ll come to you. [less...]
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The Milk Carton Kids
Friday, September 19
Grammy-nominated flat-picking harmony duo The Milk Carton Kids have emerged in the last three years as a powerful voice defining the continuing folk tradition. A refreshing alternative to the foot-stomping grandeur of the so-called “folk revival,” an understated virtuosity defines The Milk Carton Kids to the delight of traditionalists and newcomers to the folk movement alike. Indeed, Garrison Keillor has called them “absolute geniuses in close-harmony,” and has invited them onto A Prairie Home Companion three times in 2013, while cultural purveyors like T Bone Burnett and Billy Bragg continue to refer the importance of The Milk Carton Kids [more...] among a group of new folk bands expanding and contradicting the rich tradition that precedes them.

The Los Angeles Times lauds their latest Anti- Records release, The Ash & Clay (March 26, 2013), as displaying “absolute mastery of their craft” while Paste emphasizes the “intellectual sophistication of their songs, making The Milk Carton Kids an option for purists unsatisfied with some of the pop tendencies seeping in to the genre.” In addition to a Grammy nomination for Best Folk Album of 2013, The Milk Carton Kids also received a nomination for Emerging Artist of the Year at the 2013 Americana Music Awards. They are featured in T Bone Burnett & The Coen Brothers' concert film documentary, "Another Day/Another Time: Celebrating the Music of 'Inside Llewyn Davis'", alongside Joan Baez, Jack White, Gillian Welch, Marcus Mumford, Punch Brothers and many other folk luminaries and upstarts. [less...]
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Head for the Hills
Friday, September 19
Head for the Hills has a simple but continuing dilemma they can’t seem to resolve. Specialists have been hired to no avail and the predicament persists: how does one describe the multifarious music of Head for the Hills? Among the top contenders are catchy turns of phrase like post-bluegrass, progressive string music, modern acoustic noir, and bluegrass bricolage.  “On top of modern string music,” (Bluegrass Today), “Cutting edge,” (Drew Emmitt) or “Best in Colorado Bluegrass” (Westword Showcase Readers Poll)—those are up there too. [more...] Strip away the artful descriptors and you have a forward thinking group of {mostly} acoustic musicians drawing on eclectic influences, tastes and styles. They didn’t grow up immersed in bluegrass music but came to it later in life, with each other. The result is a sound based in bluegrass that reaches into indie rock, jazz, hip hop, world and folk to stitch together fresh songs that bridge the divide between past and future acoustic music. Head for the Hills—Adam Kinghorn on Guitar and vocals, Joe Lessard on violin and vocals, Matt Loewen on upright bass and vocals and Mike Chappell on acoustic and electric mandolins—has been bringing their music, whatever you’d like to call it, to audiences from the Telluride Bluegrass Festival to South by Southwest and a multitude of stages in between since 2004. The band has independently issued two studio records and one live, been featured on NPR Ideastream and eTown, co-released a beer with Odell Brewing Company in May 2013 and charted on the CMJ Top 200 (Blue Ruin, 2013 and Head for the Hills, 2010).  Blue Ruin, an all-new album of original material is available now.

Meta-fictional sea shanties.  Pop-infused newgrass murder ballads and urbane lyricism. Twang and punch. Head for the Hills’ fourth record, Blue Ruin, fuses bluegrass, jazz, hip-hop and indie rock into songs inspired by love and misery and comic books. Featuring twelve new original songs marked by moving narratives and stellar musicianship, Blue Ruin showcases the quartet’s contemporary take on acoustic music; embracing the bluegrass pedigree while looking forward. Recorded and mixed in Fort Collins, Colorado at Swingfingers Studios with ace engineer and banjoist Aaron Youngberg (Martha Scanlan, Cahalen Morrison and Eli West), Blue Ruin features contributions from Andy Hall (The Infamous Stringdusters), James Thomas, Gabe Mervine (The Motet), and more. Renowned screen print artist Timothy Doyle (Muse, The Black Keys, Lucas Films, NASA) created the stunning cover art and Grammy Award-winning mastering engineer David Glasser rounds out the production team. This is Head for the Hills at their most artistically fulfilled: self-produced and in top form. Blue Ruin is more than just a “bluegrass” record—it’s a Head for the Hills record.

A quintessential Colorado band, Head for the Hills has been fortunate to work with many of the area greats, starting with Grammy Award winning Dobroist Sally Van Meter, producer of 2007’s Robber’s Roost. Legacy Colorado musician and Leftover Salmon mandolin player Drew Emmitt came in to produce 2010’s Head for the Hills. The list goes on, with a bevy of talent from Colorado and beyond surrounding 2010’s Head for the Hills; including Grammy Award winning mixing engineer Vance Powell (Jack White, The Raconteurs), technical wizard and Pink Floyd re-master engineer Gus Skinas, Anders Beck (Greensky Bluegrass), Kyle James Hauser (Sonablast! Recording Artist) and keyboardist James Thomas, with String Cheese Incident guitarist and Colorado mainstay Billy Nershi rounding out the lineup as studio host and collaborator. In 2012 Head for the Hills released their first live record (Live). Captured in high fidelity sound & culled from 5 great nights in Colorado, Live is just that; the band live and unadorned, performing favorite original material and select covers.

Here are a few of the things people all over the country have been saying about Head for the Hills: “Cutting edge. Listeners will fully enjoy this unique sound,” Drew Emmitt (Leftover Salmon); “Head for the Hills possesses that secret ingredient,” Ryan Dembinsky (Glide Magazine, Hidden Track); “Critics Picks-What we think you should hear at SxSW,” (Austin Statesman/360.com); “Summer Stars” (Relix Magazine); “Fiery and precise – what modern bluegrass should be,” City Weekly (Salt Lake City, UT); “A very modern indie rock approach to bluegrass,” Daily Herald (Provo, UT); “Colorado Neo-bluegrassers Head for the Hills combine old and new and carry the torch for a new generation,” Ryan Heinsius (Flagstaff Live); “Rising stars of the acoustic string scene,” (BluegrassLA); “The band is standing shoulder-to-shoulder with many of their predecessors, and in the process creating their chapter in the ever-continuing story of bluegrass,” (Marquee Magazine); “Reshaping the genre as a whole,” Sam Sanborn (Oregon Music News); “The name Head for the Hills connotes hightailing it, running away. Yeah right. From the growing crowd of fans in hot pursuit,” Susan Viebrock (Telluride Inside & Out); “Supremely satisfying,” Eric Podolsky (Jambase.com). [less...]
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The Haunted Windchimes
Friday & Saturday
The Haunted Windchimes sound draws from traditional folk and American roots music. The songs have a vintage quality, as if they might have been written yesterday or 75 years ago. Grounded in honeyed harmonies and spirited pickin’, it lies in a nowhere land between distinct styles: It’s not quite bluegrass or blues or country. Still, there are elements of all those in songs that paint pictures of empty train stations and nights of passing a jug of moonshine around. It’s the vocal harmonies that really set them apart, a three-headed juggernaut of Desirae Garcia (ukulele), Chela Lujan (banjo) and Inaiah Lujan (guitar). “When their voices blend, it is nothing short of beautiful,” [more...] writes Bill Reed of The Colorado Springs Gazette. The sound is often moody and melancholy, but it is always deeply affecting. That sound is embroidered by the instrumental mastery of Mike Clark (harmonica, guitar and mandolin) and the standup bass foundation of Sean Fanning.

On the group’s 2006 debut EP “Verse/Visa”, The Haunted Windchimes presented what Denver Post journalist, Eryc Eyl, called “a beautiful chamber pop sound.” However, with 2010’s “Honey Moonshine,” the band “perfected an old-timey hoedown sound, executed with passion and precision.” May 2011, the band released “Live at the Western Jubilee,” a celebration of its career so far. Recorded in December 2010 at the Western Jubilee Warehouse, a legendary Colorado Springs venue, the record’s 13 tracks capture the five musicians in peak form in front of an appreciative audience. Their latest album, Out With the Crow, awarded album of the year by The Colorado Springs Independent in 2012, reflects “a barrel-aged maturation that punctuates their moonshine roots. The album and the band’s public performances make clear that The Haunted Windchimes aim to rekindle the flames of Americana music for generations to come,” writes Angus Edward (No Depression). [less...]
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