Nathaniel Rateliff isn't going to lie. He'd love to have the words "headlining band" instead of "opening band" in front of his name."It would be nice," said, "we'll see what the next record does." That's not to say this laidback, soulful singer isn't grateful for the opening gigs he's scored, namely for British folk rockers Mumford & Sons around the country and in Eurupe; and on Saturday night the band will open for Wilco in Vail. "We're just lucky to continue to go out and play shows and travel and tour," Rateliff said. "If you can't have it your way, it still is the next best thing, to hopefully continue to make this full time for everyone involved."Speaking of that new record, it'll likely be out this spring. Rateliff and his four bandmates have been working on the record since September."We came home from tour and went right into the studio," he said. "We spent 10 days in a studio near Woodland Park and I've been picking at the recording since then. Hopefully it will be done by the end of the year."'Room inside the music'The band, which is based in Denver, had been performing a lot of the songs live already while out on tour, Rateliff said. "I wrote the majority of the material last year and was trying to get it done last year and it never happened," he said. "But we finally got it done, finally made it happen. I ended up writing a few of the songs up in the mountains, too."The last time the band was in town, just more than a year ago, they performed at Agave in Avon where local musician Elli Gauthier opened the show. "I think one of my favorite things about his artistry is his striking use of negative space - it's like there's room inside the music," she told the Vail Daily in an interview before the Agave show. "A wall with a few thoughtfully hung paintings, rather than one crammed with every bauble that catches the eye. It's haunting, somehow, and relevant."Their harmonies are interesting and intricate and totally beautiful to listen to," she said. That being said, this is a band poised to make the switch from first on stage, to last.High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 or email@example.com.