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17 Apr 2014

Stagecoach: There's a Lot of Classic Rock in The Wild Feathers' Classic-Sounding Country Music

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The Wild Feathers. The Wild Feathers.

Rock ’n’ roll and country have always been connected—and they’re certainly connected with The Wild Feathers. The Nashville group uses influences from Led Zeppelin and Neil Young to create a strong Americana sound. They’ll be performing at Stagecoach on Friday, April 25.

All of the members were raised on rock music with Southern musical traditions, but they have embraced more of a classic country sound in their music.

During a recent phone interview, Joel King (vocals, bass) discussed The Wild Feathers’ formation. The Wild Feathers are Ricky Young (vocals, guitar), Joel King, Taylor Burns (vocals, guitar), Preston Wimberly (lead guitar/pedal-steel guitar) and Ben Dumas (drums).

“Me and Ricky knew each other in Nashville,” King said. “We got together and wrote some songs, and really started the band from that. It was kind of a natural thing, and one thing led to another. We kind of set out for it, but not really.”

While Nashville is obviously known for being at the heart of the mainstream country-music scene, it’s also a home of the early rock ’n’ roll sound.

“It’s the best place in the world,” he said. “The quality is really high there. I love Los Angeles; I love New York, given they have everything there, but Nashville is just music, pretty much. Everybody has something going on—or fucking 10 different things going on—and it’s just cool to be around that. It’s inspiring.”

When it comes to the big “Nashville sound,” King said it’s obvious that modern country music has become quite diverse.

“There are a lot of great singer-songwriters doing the classic sound of country right now,” he said. “I think a lot of classic rock could be called country music these days. I don’t know if Neil Young would be classified now under country, Americana or whatever you’d want to call it, but there’s a lot of really good stuff going on now—and a little bit of a revival going on right now as well. We can kind of sense it.”

The band’s self-titled debut album was released in 2013. King said the band took a laid-back approach.

“We did one song a day,” he said. “We did it live in the same room. Usually, people do something like: The drummer comes in for one day, and it’s drum day. ‘Prepare yourself for tomorrow, because it’s the vocal day!’ We were like, ‘Fuck that!’ You lose excitement, and you lose energy doing that. We would get in there and do everything we could live. Sometimes the vocals would be live, whatever we could get down. By the end of the day, we’d have great songs.”

The band, in a sense, has a local connection: Band members have said their sound is like “Led Zeppelin and The Band had a baby in Joshua Tree (who) grew up listening to Ryan Adams covering the Stones’ ’70s country influenced songs.”

Is there a Joshua Tree influence in The Wild Feathers’ music? King said there most certainly is.

“We’ve been out there a bunch of times,” he said. “We went up there to the Joshua Tree Inn and rented the room Gram Parsons died in. We stayed in that room on his birthday, and we had to get as drunk as could be to make it through the night, because we were scared.” 

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