Last week, Tim Newby brought us details of the important work being carried out by Backline, an organisation whose mission is to connect music industry professionals and their families with a trusted network of mental health and wellness providers, which is so, so important after the couple of years we have all just experienced. Leftover Salmon recorded ‘Left Unsung’ as a benefit for Backline, the track dedicated to a founding member of the Yonder Mountain String Band, Jeff Austin, who struggled for many years with mental health issues, before sadly succumbing.
The Yonder Mountain String Band contributed to a 40th anniversary tribute album to The Beatles’ ‘Rubber Soul’, entitled ‘This Bird Has Flown’, released in 2005, with their version of the George Harrison penned ‘Think For Yourself’. The album keeps the track listing identical to the original and features an interesting collection of artists from the worlds of indie, alt-country, folk and progressive bluegrass, among others, including Cowboy Junkies, Ben Harper, and Dar Williams, each providing their interpretation of classic Beatles numbers such as ‘Drive My Car’, ‘Norwegian Wood’, ‘Michelle’ and ‘Nowhere Man’.
The Yonder Mountain String Band contribution keeps a pretty faithful parallel with the original, with a 60s folky harmony and simple guitars, but with the added bonus of hints of banjo and Austin’s mandolin to lift it just into bluegrass country. The song itself isn’t one of the Fab Four’s most memorable, of course, but it did help to complete a very memorable album, the anniversary tribute to which received reasonable critical reviews on release and provided an opportunity for some excellent songs to receive (mostly) subtly alternative treatment.