|photo: Rebecca Sapp/wireimage.com; courtesy Grammy Museum|
Last Thursday night, The Wild Feathers made a special appearance at the Grammy Museum in downtown Los Angeles.
The engaging 65-minute program was moderated by Scott Goldman, Vice President of the Grammy Foundation and MusiCares, and held in the intimate Clive Davis Theater.
Taking a break from their current tour with Band of Horses, all four members sat down for a discussion about their career and latest album “Lonely is a Lifetime.” Released this past spring on Warner Bros. Records, it was followed by a five-song acoustic performance.
The Nashville rock group emerged in 2013 with a stellar Americana-leaning eponymous album, which reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart, spawned top 10 Adult Alternative radio hit “The Ceiling” and landed on many critic’s year-end best lists (including this writer). “Lonely is a Lifetime” is just as strong, finding the musicians reteaming with producer Jay Joyce and utilizing a more expansive sound along the lines of Pink Floyd, My Morning Jacket, Dawes, Delta Spirit, etc.
In LA, The Wild Feathers talked about how extensive touring and opening for Willie Nelson to support the first album helped them become a real rock ‘n’ roll band and that “Lonely” felt more spontaneous and seamless without a rigid structure. They admitted to “playing our asses off” on the epic, eight-minute-long departure “Goodbye Song” and were happy to “jam out and experience everything we wanted.”
Common touchstone The Band was referenced in regards to the grandeur of “Don’t Ask Me to Change” and The Wild Feather’s trademark multi-part harmonies. “We have character to our harmonies and share the vocal load,” they said.
When Goldman asked about frequent drug references in the lyrics, the guys stated they were “products of our environment, but we don’t glorify it.” Although many Americana-identified acts use banjos and kick drums out front these days, that’s not what The Wild Feathers are about. “We steer away from (a similar setup). We love Willie (Nelson), punk rock, The Replacements."
The second album’s title track was actually penned before the first one came out. It was inspired the “magical vibe” of a trip to Joshua Tree, Calif. and a stay in the desert motel room where Gram Parsons died (on the alt-country pioneer's birthday).
About living in ultra-competitive Nashville: “The bar is so high there that you can’t be complacent. You have to keep pushing with the songwriting. You’re always being sized up.”
For the live segment, the band was joined by Brett Moore on keyboards for stripped down takes on “Help Me Out,” “Overnight” (where their voices truly soared), a gorgeous “Sleepers,” “Lonely is a Lifetime” and a fervent, uplifting “The Ceiling” (now at 2 million+ streams on Spotify), where the band pulled out all the stops.
Go to www.grammymuseum.org to find out more details on the excellent slate of programs and exhibits.