Yearning for Yeti brings mixed styles to studio album

Yearning for Yeti has produced their first studio album. Enlargephoto

Sam Green/Cortez Journal

Yearning for Yeti has produced their first studio album.

From funky to melodic with plenty of up-tempo rock mixed in, Yearning for Yeti brought a range of styles to their first studio album.

The band had made the rounds to several summer festivals before Backstage Recording in Dolores asked if the members would be interested in recording with them.

Dean Acheson, co-owner of Back Stage Recording, said it’s pretty unusual for a studio to approach a band, but they heard great potential in Yearning for Yeti, and the band has just continued to jell.

“There is a lot of creatively and a lot of talent there,” Acheson said.

About a year after the band first got together their record Yeti, was released.

The album progresses from songs like Backhills Fire Drill, in which a touch of bluegrass meets up-tempo rock, and ends with Crash Course, a somewhat psychedelic instrumental.

The styles speak to the wide range of their individual backgrounds, which includes punk, jazz, and blues.

Yeti is a relatively new band, but the members have extensive resumes.

Shawn Winters, the lead singer and guitarist, and Keith Phillips, the bass player, grew up in the rich and competitive Cleveland music scene.

“If you can get by and play there, you can make it everywhere,” said Phillips who majored in jazz bass and music engineering.

The two lived in Hawaii before moving to the area, and you can hear about a snippet of the adventure in Puna Rain, on the record.

When they arrived here, Winters was a little surprised to hear Appalachian and bluegrass influences in southwest Colorado, but found it was perfect place to “write and make some high-stomping Colorado psychedelic music.”

Winters and Phillips got connected to drummer Jim Barry and pianist Brad Rash, through mutual friends. Currently, the members are scattered in Mancos, Dolores and Cortez.

Barry, learned to play after he was asked to be the drummer for a punk band during high school in Pennsylvania.

Later, he played for several bands in Manhattan, including one with Subzero Records.

Barry transitioned into rock and jazz after he started working with Winters.

“Once he started playing the music, it wasn’t hard for me to fit right in,” he said.

Some in the area might recognize Winters, Phillips, and Barry from a previous band called Stone 66. The band took a yearlong break and re-formed with pianist Rash under a new name.

A longtime musician as well, pianist Rash, who also plays bass, guitar and drums, brings strong solos to the album.

“I discovered the blues, and never looked back,” he said.

Look for the group this summer at festivals in Telluride, Mancos and Dolores. The group will also be holding a show and album release party May 2 at Blondies from 8 p.m. to close.

The album is available at Cliffrose Gardens, Rocky Mountain One Stop, Auto Masters, Pony Expresso in Dolores and several other stores in town.