Feb 22, 2014

The Wild Feathers at The Double Door on February 16, 2014

The Wild Feathers

Nashville's The Wild Feathers are made up of the four unique vocal and guitar stylings of Ricky Young, Joel King, Taylor Burns and Preston Wimberly and Ben Dumas on drums.  Combined they offer a fresh take on southern rock and are starting to take the helm as headliner instead of opening act.  I previously saw them when they opened for ZZ Ward at the House of Blues and was impressed.  Their music draws from a variety of influences including country, blues, folk and hard rock but with a old school southern vintage spin.

This band stands out from others in its genre because there are actually four strong vocal leads.  Ricky, Joel, Taylor and Preston all stand front and center, in a line, on the stage and take turns taking the vocal leads on various songs, sometimes each contributing solo bars on one song.  Ricky Young occasionally will step out in front of his mic and lean over into the audience at a touchable distance further engaging fans.  The end result is seamless and this is unusual. Having four lead vocals and having this be successful is not an easy task. It is hard to avoid having different vocal leads competing with one another.  Usually the end result is a lack of cohesiveness to the band's sound and often seems disjointed. Not the case with The Wild Feathers.  They sound like one animal.  Joel has called the fierce foursome a "four headed monster" and this is an accurate description.

Combining the folk, rock and softer sounds of these bandmates along with perfect harmonies, the end result is truly flawless. They each have mad guitar skills too. It is necessary to mention the skills that Preston Wemberly brings to the table with his pedal steel guitar.  Although he appeared to be the least sweat drenched member of the Wild Feathers, he arguably played the most difficult instrument.  The pedal steel guitar requires coordination with foot pedals and a bar to move the chords and add vibrato and shading to the sound.  Kudos to Preston and the added richness this instrument brings to the bands sound.  The Wild Feathers played with full throttle excitement and verve throughout the set.  I was exhausted (yet energized) just watching them.

Taylor Burns, featured in the video I took from The Double Door, plays electric guitar and has a deep and bluesy sound to his vocals.   This song represents the "hard rock" personality of this band.

For their 2013 debut, The Wild Feathers, producer Jay Joyce (Cage the Elephant, the Wallflowers, Emmylou Harris) encouraged the band to focus on true rock & roll and harmony. The album has something for everyone because it combines hard rock tunes like "Backwoods Company" and folksy love songs like "Tall Boots".

Double Door is a great venue and one of the true "rock & roll clubs" left.  What I forgot though is how extremely LOUD the music is.  If you stand by the stage you will lose your hearing.  Bring ear plugs or you will be sorry.  I also recommend wearing layers.  They have a coat check and the place get's warm if there is a crowd like there was this night.  There was a guy in front of me wearing the warmest wool coat (likely purchased in the North Pole) buttoned up and wore a scarf throughout the show.  He barely seemed phased by the heat.  Meanwhile I was pealing off layers, coat and sweater around waist and leaving t-shirt on (yes, that is as far as I got).

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