Though not native to Nashville, The Wild Feathers have acquired that Nashvillian uniqueness from moving there that manifests itself in the groups folksy rock tunes and exciting live shows. One of the headlining acts at Rhythm N' Blooms, The Wild Feathers have gained a lot of musical ground inside and outside of Nashville with songs like "The Ceiling."
The Daily Beacon's Jenna Butz checked in with The Wild Feathers' Joel King, Ricky Young and Preston Wimberly about their lives since moving to Nashville, the "subconcious haze" that is their songwriting, and how the band is getting psyched for their upcoming show at Bonnaroo.
Jenna Butz: Do you guys play festivals a lot?
Ricky Young: It seems like we do, right?
Joel King: We love it actually. It's kind of like, we get to see a lot of bands – you know, you tour and you don't get to see a lot of bands for a long time, then you get to see a lot of buddies like Shovels & Rope playing tonight. And we played after YARN. You get to see a lot of buddies all in one place. It's like a little family reunion or something like that."
JB: Is there a certain festival that you guys go to every year or pretty often?
Preston Wimberly: The Hot Chicken Festival in Nashville.
JK: No, we're so busy that we just, we play them and then we go. But Hangout Festival is one of our favorites. It's on the beach. I think if I was home and had nothing to do, I would probably go to that one just because it's just a cool, vacation-y festival.
JB: Have you guys gotten to hang out and go around to any of the other shows?
JK: No, I wish. We flew in from Dallas. Left the hotel at 6:30 a.m. in Dallas, flew to Nashville, got straight in the van and drove to Knoxville for the show.
JB: When do you guys leave?
JB: Are you going to stay to see Shovels & Rope tonight?
JK: Oh yeah.
PW: We're playing again after them at like 1 a.m. at The Standard.
JB: If you could describe your sound anyway you wanted to, how would you?
PW: Thrash folk.
JK: We're just an American rock 'n' roll band.
RY: Writing songs that stick around.
JK: Just American rock 'n' roll. With rock n' roll you can do anything. Cowboy hippie punk...
PW: Cosmic cowboy
JK: You can play country blues. Anything with rock 'n' roll.
JB: Do you guys ever find yourselves writing songs about a specific topic?
JK: Like a topical song, like about current events?
RY: Like, is there a common denominator in the songs?
JB: Yeah. Like, a bunch of songs about heartbreak or anything?
RY: I think they kind of come at a subconscious haze if that makes sense. I mean, there's a lot of desperation and curiosity in our songwriting, I think. Listening to it as a listener, listening back to the record, sounds like it's desperate, trying to figure out some things. So, that's kind of a theme at least on this record. Maybe the next record will be different, I don't know.
PW: We're definitely trying to figure out some things. We're all young men trying to become good men.
JK: A lot of honesty. It's a lot of – like, "Left My Woman," it's just exactly where we were at the time, and it was the sample of what we were feeling. We don't really write stories, like create just mythical or some weird thing. It's usually pretty honest writing. We find the ones that are really good are the ones real true to us.
JB: Do you guys have a favorite song to play?
RY: My favorite song always is "Hard Times." It's just something that I get to sit back and listen to, and I really enjoy it. Like Joel just said, it's a song about – it's like a timeline.
JK: Just true.
PW: Just a very honest chapter. Plus, it's fun to play, and I get to hear Joel and Taylor sing their asses off.
JK: My favorite to play is "Kitchen Breeze" though, because we don't get to play it very often. Preston plays the pedal steel, so there's that. And I get to play the country beat. It's the country version, like a bonus track on iTunes if you buy the deluxe version or something like that, you get that song. When you're throw-and-go like at these festivals, you don't always get to whip out the pedal steel. So, when we do, it's one of my favorite tunes to play. It's just a great vibe.
JB: How do you think your show tonight went?
JK: Horrible! Nah, I'm just kidding.
PW: Fine. We're all kind of dazed and confused at this point, so I think it was fine.
JK: We didn't have to like stop a song. I don't think we messed up too much.
RY: It was great. The crowd was very responsive. Singing along.
JK: We saw some friends out there too.
RY: Knoxville's always good to us. We've definitely paid our dues here. We've played at Barley's right over there.
PW: We did a residency there last year.
JK: Every Tuesday or Wednesday or something like that.
PW: So it's cool. We actually get to see people out in the crowd who used to come see us a year ago at Barley's, and somehow they've continued to follow us.
JK: And that's pretty cool.
JB: So, have you played Knoxville a lot then?
JK: Not a whole lot. We did that thing for that month, then we play it when we can like when something like this arises. We're spread very thin these days.
JB: Are you guys from Nashville?
JK: Yeah, we all live there, but like many others, no one's really from Nashville. We got three Texans and a guy from Oklahoma then a Georgian in the band. But we all moved to Nashville because that's the place to be to be a musician, singer-songwriter, whatever it is we do.
JB: When did you guys move to Nashville?
JK: Well, we moved there at separate times. Ricky's been there the longest.
RY: I've been there for nine years.
JK: I moved there in '08. I'm not sure how long that is.
PW: It's only been a couple years for me.
JK: We met Preston when we were in Austin, and we convinced him to move there after splitting our time back and forth between Texas and Nashville.
PW: Bad idea.
JK: Horrible idea.
PW: No, no. Taylor and I knew each other from Austin, played in bands in Austin, then we all met and decided really Nashville made more sense for all of us to be. Now, we're all official Nashvillians.
JB: Do you guys have a favorite venue to play?
JK: The Louisville Palace, the Palace in Louisville – we opened up for Bob Dylan there – I don't know if it's Spanish architecture or Greek or something. It's just – the top looks like a sky, and it's just the coolest venue I've ever played in my life.
PW: That's up there. What's that winery we played? That was pretty unbelievable.
JK: Yeah, I'd never really been on a winery until then.
PW: There was this huge stage overlooking this gorgeous—
JK: What do you think, Ricky? The 5 Spot?
PW: I love the 5 Spot.
JK: Got to.
RY: I mean, anywhere in a Nashville. A hometown show is great. Any venue in Nashville is great. The Ryman will be your favorite.
JK: Yeah, The Ryman's our favorite, yet we've never played there yet.
PW: That's the bucket list, so we'll go ahead and say that's our favorite.
JB: On your latest record, is there a theme to it or did you just have songs and put them on it?
RY: The theme was trying to put the best songs possible on it in the allotted amount of space, and we were just trying to make our first record and write the best songs possible.
PW: We just wanted to enjoy recording them and playing them. I guess our theme was to just try to be good?
JK: We wanted a good record all the way through too. We're record type of people. Like, it's not just like we got one single and were like, "Oh OK, now we'll have a bunch of bullshit after that." We want to make a good complete record. But, theme as far as the record goes, it's just honest shit. You can't pick a theme on that. But we did want to make a full—like, this something that should be a cool, all the way listen. Not just singles.
JB: Are you guys on a promotional tour?
JK: We're always on a promotional tour. We're just a working band. We're always doing something. Like, everywhere we go.
RY: But by definition no, this is not a promotional tour. We're just touring and playing to as many people as we possibly can.
JB: Are you guys working on writing for a new album right now?
JK: We're always writing. When you're playing and you're in the zone, you're just always writing songs. So, when the time comes for us to do another record, we'll be ready. But, we're just regular songwriters, and you don't think about it too much.
PW: We have so many songs already that I think we already have the first three or four records already written. It's nice to have so many songwriters where we can just have such a bad catalog with all of our stuff.
RY: We're always writing, but we have plenty of songs that a ready to go right now as well.
JK: It's a good problem to have.
JB: In the next few months, is there something you guys are getting ready to do that you're really excited about?
JK: Yeah, that'll be good. That and we have a shot coming up in New York, doing Seth Meyer's show, the late night thing. And that's always exciting. Those are new things for us. Then, Australia? We'll do Australia in July, so that'll be a new thing.