Interview with The Wild Feather’s Ricky Young

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The Wild Feathers may not be a new band, having been around for a couple years at this point, but the enthusiasm that acoustic guitarist and vocalist for the band, Ricky Young, described that the band has made it seem like they just got started and are raring to go.

Following up from doing around 230 tour dates last year the Feathers are relaxing before their next tour, which starts June 12th at Bonnaroo. Young explained that the band is excited to be playing Bonnaroo. “It’s our first Bonnaroo, but we’ve done festivals like it before. It’s going to be fun though because it’s kind of a hometown show for us.” Being based out of Nashville, it should be fun to kick off their tour at a festival as large as this one. Of course they’ve got more like it to come, what with Firefly and Saturday in the Park marked down as future dates. “Playing at festivals is a lot of fun with a great environment. It’s cool to get to watch all these different bands.”

While Young talked up festivals I wondered how he felt for more intimate shows like Sonic Lunch will likely be. “It’s cool to play smaller shows and clubs like that. Honestly we’re happy playing anywhere and getting people excited with our music.” Statements like these make listening to The Wild Feathers that much more enjoyable. Sure there are hundreds of talented musicians or bands, but at times you go and watch them play and it almost seems like they’re just doing it because it pays the bills. Watching a band that truly enjoys themselves is a treat unto itself, and when they sound great it becomes even better.

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After talking about shows and traveling on the road, I steered the conversation towards some future works. The band released their debut album in August of last year, so I wondered if they had figured out, or started working on, their next one. “We haven’t really started yet, but we figure it will be a little more raw. We’ve gotten some songs written and worked on a little, but at the moment we’re waiting to really get started on it.” Don’t worry fans, because Young has said that they do have some new stuff to play. “We’ll be playing a few new songs. We like to play some new songs and try new stuff on our audience, see how they like it, and then tweak it if we have to.”

The interesting thing about their previous album was that it was recorded live. The whole band set up in the studio and they all played together. Unlike many bands now a days they didn’t split the CD into individual tracks. “Doing it live really captures the band playing.” It makes sense that playing all together will add to sound as each member can work off the others. It’s a good way to make a cd and I hope that more will take up the method.

While people’s backgrounds and their characteristics affect the way music sounds, so too does where the musician lives affect the music. Nashville, nicknamed Music City, has a diverse and impressive number of musicians both from and in the city. “Everyone is super talented out here and we’re inspired daily. Walking around you can listen to guys playing guitar on the corner and they’ll be better than you.” (Laughs) “It’s a great time being out here and to stick out you’ve really got to work hard.”

On their website the Wild Feathers admit that they are a group composed of four different lead singers. Each one of them has their own style and voice that can be heard on the album. While one song may have a bluesy feel the next can be a rock/country mix. “Sometimes we’ll all get together to work on a song and we’ll hash something out. Other times I’ll be at home, playing my guitar and come up with an idea. Then I take it to the other guys and they’ll give me some ideas. It’s a lot of collaboration between us.” In the same vein I asked how Young feels that they have so many influences in their music and that their style of music is something like a new kind of rock. “We didn’t set out to remake the genre, it’s just kind of the band we became. We mostly focus on being the best kind of band we can be and try to stay as true as possible to the influences that got us here.”

By the end of our interview I had gotten a little glimpse into what these guys are about. Not only do they let their individual tastes and personalities show through their songs, but they’re more than happy to be out on the road or in the booth performing. So give them a listen on June 26 at the Liberty Plaza in Ann Arbor.

Written by Jacob Conflitti

About the author

A soon to be UofM grad hoping to break into the world of writing, although his poor grasp of grammar does not help.