Since the progressive bluegrass band’s last studio recording—The Show, which hit no. 1 on Billboard’s bluegrass charts back in 2009—the Yonder Mountain String Band has focused most of its time and energy on tour, performing at different music festivals and concert halls across the country.
Now, six years later, the five-member string outfit returns with the release of their sixth studio album Black Sheep.
Premiering at no. 3 on Billboard’s bluegrass charts, Black Sheep is the band’s first to feature new members Jake Joliff on mandolin and Allie Kral on the fiddle.
The album starts off strong, with the band’s first single “Insult and an Elbow,” a whimsically upbeat tune with simple lyrics and a clever chorus that will have you humming the words for days on end. (To make matters worse, they decided to include their “oh so catchy” lyrics into the music video as well)
Meanwhile other tunes, like the song “Annalee,” gives listeners a different vibe entirely. With its folksy harmonies and twanging banjo, “Annalee” is reminiscent of a Levon Helm or Van Morrison tune.
In typical YSMB fashion, Black Sheep also features a cover of the Buzzcock’s classic punk-rock anthem “Ever Fallen In Love.”