After three years of crafting their sound, The Wild Feathers have arrived. Their 2013 self-titled debut has served as a proper introduction to this group’s fresh take on Americana rock, and their song “The Ceiling” is getting heavy rotation on radio stations nationwide. Some of the aforementioned freshness may be due in part to the fact the band is comprised of former lead singers. This has led to songs that may begin with a duet and end with all members sharing vocal duties, reminiscent of the harmonies that were hallmarks of some of the legendary bands of the ‘70s. Before they take the Soul Kitchen stage on Jan. 31, guitarist Taylor Burns provided Lagniappe with an inside look into this unique band.
SC: One thing that I find very interesting about The Wild Feathers is that you guys actually relocated from Austin to Nashville, which probably blew some people’s minds. What made Nashville so appealing to you guys?
TB: To be completely honest, two of us were in Austin, and two of us were in Nashville. So, we were kinda split half-and-half. Me and Preston (Wimberly) were the Texas guys. We just decided that it was time that we moved to Nashville. There are more opportunities here. To be honest, it’s way easier to tour out of Nashville. It’s closer to so many major cities. In Texas, you have to drive a whole day just to get out of Texas.
SC: I’ve made that drive a few times, and it sucks.
TB: It’s horrible! I was doing that Austin to Nashville drive like every month or so. It was 16 hours of brutal highway. It was boring as boring could be.
SC: Sounds like that drive paid off. 2013 was a big year for The Wild Feathers. What was it like to get out with a new debut on a major label?
TB: For me, personally, it was really incredible. It was a dream come true with our first record on a major label. I couldn’t imagine doing the things that we’ve done this year five years ago. It was amazing. The day that the record came out, we were opening our first show with Willie Nelson in Vegas at this beautiful five-tier symphony center. It was so surreal.
SC: The release of your debut couldn’t have gone any better. For a band that’s spent three years trying to work up to this, what do you think about this new-found attention?
TB: It’s hard, because, like you said, we’ve been trying for three years, and people think that we just came out. We’ve been working so hard collectively for the last three years. Then, individually, it’s been the last 10 or 15 years. It’s nice to finally get some recognition and to be appreciated and finally fit. We’re like, “It’s about time!” We’ve been working our asses off forever. So, it’s good to get that feedback and be justified about what we chose to do for a living.
SC: One thing that I’ve noticed about the next generation of up-and-coming bands is that they have embraced classic sounds from various genres and decades and brought them into the modern times. You guys have embraced the ‘70s Americana rock sound. What do you think about these classic influences that have made bands like The Wild Feathers embraced them and mold them into their own?
TB: That’s a really good question. For all of us, we grew up listening to what our parents grew up listening to, and it just had a resurgence. All the stuff from when I was coming up is just horrible, horrible pop music. It had no soul, and it didn’t evoke any emotion for me. So, the stuff that I was always drawn to came two generations before me. It was stuff that my dad listened to. That’s what it was for me. It was something real and moved people in a certain way. It wasn’t just a catchy chorus that you could dance to.
SC: The Wild Feathers are made up of lead singers. Even if one of you claimed the title, it still wouldn’t seem right. You’re all doing vocal time, and this album reflects it. It’s full of crazy vocal work and kind of innovative for me. When you were writing the songs for this album, what was it like trying to figure out the vocal aspect?
TB: It was experimental, because we had never done it. All of us came from our own bands-or the three of us did-as lead singers. So, we were winging it. We didn’t know what the formula was, or if there even was one. It seemed like whoever had the song idea would steer the writing of that particular song. If someone came up with a part, it was like, “OK, you sing that part. You came up with it.” That’s how it evolved. We didn’t really think about it too much. We just went with what we felt and what came natural to us. Hopefully, what we got was something that is better than what we could do on our own.
SC: From what I’ve read, it seems like producer Jay Joyce really pushed you guys in the studio. What was it like going in every day and pumping out a song? Did you ever get burned-out?
TB: It was great. I love that. I’ve recorded in the past where it’s just painstakingly slow. You do all the drums and bass for a week, and half the band doesn’t have anything to do. This way, there was a sense of accomplishment each day. It was really hard work. At the end of the day, if there wasn’t a complete song, then it was close to one. You could sit back and say, “That’s good! What can we start on tomorrow?” Jay was super hard on us, but in the best way. He demanded the best from us, and I think he got it.
SC: Y’all played SXSW last year, and your tour is taking you back to Austin for a repeat performance. As one of the Texas guys, what it’s like going back with the new album and all your accomplishments over the past year?
TB: It’s pretty amazing. I still have a ton of friends there who are great musicians. Some of them are doing great, and some are struggling. So, it’s always good to come back with some skins on the wall. It makes you feel good about leaving Austin and going to Nashville. I just love getting back to Austin and hanging out a week or two. I’m glad SXSW is there and not somewhere else.
92 Zew Low Dough Show feat. The Wild Feathers, with Saints of Valory and Jamestown Revival
Date: Fri., Jan. 31 with doors at 7:30 p.m.
Venue: Soul Kitchen, 219 Dauphin St., www.soulkitchemobile.com
Tickets: $9.21 adv. /$13 day-of avail. at Soul Kitchen, their website, Mellow Mushroom (WeMo and WeMo) and by calling 1-866-468-7630