Austin band The Wild Feathers is something both old and new. Ricky Young, Joel King, Taylor Burns, Preston Wimberly, and Ben Dumas grew up steeped in music – playing solo gigs, touring with local bands and working at venues. The guys came together in Austin in 2010 through coincidence, mutual friends, and a shared love of classic alt-country and southern rock. The young band spent the following year writing and reshaping their sound before heading into the studio to record with producer Jay Joyce (Cage the Elephant, Emmylou Harris).
Their debut has a great mix of power pop and modern country music in parts with its dense, layered production. The band charges out of the gate with “Backwoods Company,” a riff-heavy anthem with a double-time beat and a touch of country rock spirit set to a blistering amount of fuzz guitar that compares well with Oasis.
“American” features the clear harmony of bandmates that is both aspirational and exciting. Then it hushes to a near whisper before letting loose with a blistering guitar solo and returning to the chorus. Influences of both Tom Petty and The Allman Brothers are pretty pronounced on the first few tracks, but the band’s own voice comes through on “The Ceiling,” which is one of those great highway driving songs. You can feel the expanse of the open road and the scenery flying by with the chorus that states “The sunrise drives the morning/The smokestacks/The old hats/Still learning.”
The slow ballad “Left My Woman” allows each vocalist to distinguish himself before the group harmony hits the chorus. The genre combination continues on “I’m Alive,” which is another excellent catchy anthem that mines those bass riffs – it recalls The Beatles’ “Day Tripper,” and it holds real crossover appeal. “Hard Times” and “How” are a little more derivative of The Allman Brothers, but this is a talented group that only needs a little more time to lean on its own unique sound.
The themes of hopeful optimism and determination have something in common with both modern country and power pop. Hopefully this will make an impact with fans on both sides.