What: Yonder Mountain String Band
When: 6 p.m. Saturday
Where: Red Rocks, 18300 W. Alameda Pkwy., 720-865-2494
More info: redrocksonline.com
One of the nice things about being Yonder Mountain String Band is that your homecoming show is at Red Rocks.
After a long summer tour, the Colorado progressive bluegrass band gets to come back to play one of the country’s best, most beautiful stages, and it’s something they never take for granted. YMSB guitarist and singer Adam Aijala guessed that the band has played there between five and 10 times in their 15-year existence.
“The crowd is like a wave about to crash over you,” he said.
“The thing that I find … is we consider this venue Red Rocks, one of the most well-known venues in the world, to be a hometown show. For me, that’s pretty damn cool. There’s a lot of great places to play in the Front Range, but there’s something special about Red Rocks for sure. If you’ve been, you don’t even have to explain, whether as a fan or someone who’s played there.”
YMSB hasn’t released a record since 2009, but they’ve been touring consistently nonetheless. So much of the band’s appeal is in the live show — they don’t need an album to promote as a reason to tour. This summer — one in which Aijala said they only performed indoors once — seems to have gone particularly well for them.
“I feel like the band’s playing better than average. I don’t know why. It’s a baseball team — sometimes we slump, but right now I feel like we’re in a good groove and we’re all getting along well,” he said. “You want to believe that it’s because we’re ending at Red Rocks, at home.”
They also have an EP release to look forward to. Each of the band members contributed a song, and it’s due out before the fall tour, which starts on Oct. 9.
“I feel like once it was all said and done, and once … I took it home and listened to it in full, and found an order and played it through, I thought it was great. I thought it was Yonder Mountain 2013 at our best,” Aijala said. “I’m really happy with it and I think everyone’s songs are really great musically and lyrically. There’s some stuff that someone who’s listened to us for a while might consider more evolved, but there’s also a bluegrassy, jammy type song too … It was by far the easiest time I’ve had in the studio.”
The EP release should hold over fans who’ve been itching for something new. The band knows it’s better to produce something here and there than to make people wait too long for a full album. But the guys have kids now, and Aijala said when it comes down to finding the time to record, family time and touring usually win out.
They’re often creating while they’re on the road, so it’s not a total wash. The band uses the time on the bus to work out new material, and because they haven’t been recording it, they have tons of songs backed up.
“I’ll speak for myself, [the EP] makes me a lot more motivated to get back in and do a full record, and part of us was lamenting that should have done a full record,” Aijala said. “We have tons of material that’s not on any record. We always kind of feel like, if we’re going to do a studio record, we want to have newer stuff. I’ve been feeling pretty good on the creative side of things lately and Dave’s been on a roll, too.”
But these aren’t the worst problems to have, and Aijala knows it. They’ll get to the next LP sooner or later and just enjoy the tours in the meantime. No real complaints here.
“I can’t believe we’ve been doing this for as long as we have,” he said. “We’re lucky as hell.”