Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018
7:00 pm - 11:00 pm
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Horse Feathers feels like a secret you don’t really want to share. Over twelve years and five albums, a passionate fan base has experienced this band as a precious commodity that they want to keep close to their hearts. One reason for this can be found in lead singer Justin Ringle’s distinctive voice, at once vulnerable and piercing, and in the quality of the music: gorgeous, lush string arrangements surrounding stark, visceral lyrics whose bite makes a piquant juxtaposition to the surrounding beauty.
Now, however, Horse Feathers has created an album that differs enough from its predecessors to suggest that the cat might get out of the bag. On Appreciation, their sixth full-length and the fifth on venerable independent label Kill Rock Stars, the signifiers of the band are there: Ringle’s warm tenor and lyrics that speak of work, love, and other struggles. But on this album less of the song dynamics are achieved with strings and more with an exciting new rhythm section steeped in Northern Soul. Longtime violinist Nathan Crockett and keyboardist Dustin Dybvig provide continuity, but much of Appreciation feels like the best of Ringle’s previous musical ideas just took a giant step into a larger arena.
Recorded primarily in Kentucky (at La-La Land Studios in Louisville and Shangri-La Studios in Lexington), the new album features instrumentalists J. Tom Hnatow, Robby Cosenza and R&B vocalist Joslyn Hampton, who helped make Appreciation a mixture of strutting ‘70s-style country-pop (“Without Applause,” “Don’t Mean To Pry”) and supple soul (“Best To Leave,” “Evictions”). But Horse Feathers hasn’t gained accessibility at the expense of quality, nor at the expense of their signature instrumentation (“The Hex” might be the only R&B/soul song where the rhythmic lead is played on banjo). For those who crave what NPR called “the densely pretty seethe of Horse Feathers’ earlier ballads”, the album delivers “Born in Love” and “On the Rise”, accentuating the string surge with Hammond organ, piano, tambourine, and finger snaps.
“It just felt like a fresh take on how my songs can come across,” Ringle says. “With this incarnation, it’s okay if what I’m doing right now is in fact kind of a pop song. I can have a chorus and repeat something. I’m more aware of that and enjoy it.”
This artistic adjustment comes in the wake of a lot of changes in Ringle’s life. Not too long ago, he left his former hometown of Portland for the coastal city Astoria, Oregon. He’s also been dipping his toes into the world of record production, helping North Carolina band River Whyless with the recording of their last album We All The Light. After a while of bouncing between three states, as well as stops in Camas, Washington to finish Appreciation with longtime compatriot Skyler Norwood at Miracle Lake Studios, Ringle is finally settling down just in time to get ready to hit the road with Horse Feathers in support of this new album. “I wanna get out there and do my job,” he says.
Diehard fans are going to find plenty to cherish on Appreciation. But they’re going to have to make room in the club house for a lot more people – with this album, the Horse Feathers secret is officially out.
Cathartic, experiential alt-folk written by boots-in-the-dirt, partner-in-crime country girls and delivered across drummer Tobias Bank’s vast percussive landscape. For Whippoorwill, there’s little separation between the soul and the scenery– heartbreak is a ripped floodplain and longing, an unbroken expanse of sky. It’s Cormac McCarthy meets Neil Young via non-traditional banjo, long harmonica riffs, distorted guitar, and three-part harmonies that can scorch, soar, or haunt accordingly.
“Masterful at containing the true dynamic nature of emotions. At once, sad and joyful, yearning and fulfilled. Which element stands out strongest depends on your mood. This is beautiful, masterfully crafted, skillfully performed music..” HEY REVERB
Alysia Kraft was raised on a family-owned Wyoming cattle ranch, Staci Foster alongside the rivers of the Texas Hill Country. Foster and Kraft met by chance at a porch picking party at SXSW 2013. The two exchanged songs throughout the night before parting for separate tours, later naming themselves “Whippoorwill” for the bird cooing through the pauses in song on the night of their meeting.
In 2016, Foster and Kraft put other musical projects on the back-burner and worked as ranch hands while pre-producing debut EP, “Good to Be Around.” Recorded at GPM Studio in Fort Collins and co-produced by Tallgrass, their debut album contains six- stick-to-heart tracks that earned them regional nominations for Wyoming Public Radio and the Colorado Playlist’s Best Albums of the Year. Culture Trip named them to the female edition of 50 Musicians You Need to Know from Each State and MYCounty 95.5 called them a Top Ten Act to Watch in 2017.
Tobias Bank joined the band in November 2016 on drums, brining depth and musicality to the rhythm section and adding third part harmonies to a rich set of singing. Having now spent a year and 150+ shows as a trio, Whippoorwill has shared sold-out stages with Colin Hay (Men at Work), Lydia Loveless, and Old Crow Medicine show, and has performed coveted showcases at 2017 Treefort Music Fest. Winter 2017-2018 finds them in the studio at work on a much-anticipated debut full-length album. Please direct all inquiries to [email protected]