The world of music is known for big talents and big egos, but the equal partnership of Nashville rockers The Wild Feathers makes for sweet music indeed. All four members led their own bands before teaming up, and they all sing. From Taylor Burns’ bluesy songs to Ricky Young’s folksy influence, Preston Wimberly’s country flavor to Joel King’s vivacious rocker’s roar, each of the band members channels their competitive spirit to push each other to make the best songs they can.
“We call it the four-headed monster. I know that if I don’t come to the table with a song, somebody else is going to take over, and that’s a good thing. It makes your playing better, it makes your singing better. You don’t get lazy. It’s really worked out,” said Joel King, one of the band’s four frontmen.
The Wild Feathers are currently tearing up the South on a tour to promote their upcoming self-titled debut album and will play at The Parish at the House of Blues in New Orleans Monday, March 11.
The band’s differing vocal styles make for intriguing harmonies, which King enjoys.
“Taylor does this great kind of Levon Helm bluesy singing,” King said. “Everyone has their own little thing. Ricky has a great tone to his voice, and me, I’m usually just spitting and shouting. There are a lot of bands that we like, a lot of classic bands that have that kind of dynamic, like The Band or The Beatles.”
The fact that King and the others have their own specialties results in songs that run the gamut of American music. Some songs hit hard and fast, like their first single, “Backwoods Company,” but they also have slower, more country songs, like “The Ceiling.”
“We always say that the beauty of being in a rock ‘n’ roll band is that you can play a country song and it’s OK. You can play a blues song and a folk song all under the umbrella of rock ‘n’ roll, which is really nice…we just go with, ‘What would the Beatles do?’ If they can do ‘Revolution 9,’ then we can get away with doing a country song,” King said.
King believes that a mixing of musical influences is an integral part of the band, but admits that it means that they tend to stand out when they play with other bands who stick to just one genre.
“It’s weird for this group. We’ll play with a lot of Americana bands and come off as hard rock guys, and then we’ll play with a rock band and we seem like touchy feely harmonizers. So we’re kind of in the middle,” he said.
“Backwoods Company” (check out the official video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k1eYfrT-hBw&feature=player_embedded) paints a picture of a rough-and-tumble rural rock ‘n’ roll upbringing, but King denied that the song was about his rural hometown.
“I grew up in the sticks. It was a one-stoplight town. Total redneck, ‘King of the Hill’-type town. But ‘Backwoods Company, ’ well, it just sounded good really. It wasn’t like a specific place. We should probably make up a place,” he said with a laugh.
The band’s first album was overseen by producer Jay Joyce (who has also produced Cage the Elephant and Emmylou Harris), who encouraged them to let their innate rough-and-tumble energy breath life into their vocal harmonies.
“Jay’s like a mad scientist. He’s awesome. Being a harmony group, maybe this isn’t a great thing to say, but you don’t want everything to sound perfect or you’ll sound like the Beach Boys or whatever,” King said. “Jay was more about the rock side of it. He’s more edgy.”
While their first big tour of 2013 ends with their performance in New Orleans, The Wild Feathers have plenty more touring to do to support their upcoming album. However, King and the others don’t mind at all.
“Playing live is great, and the more you do it, the more you miss it when you stop. We love the road and we love playing live. We just want to be able to make records and play live all the time and make a living doing that. We’re pretty much just avoiding getting a regular job,” he said.
The Wild Feathers will play before ZZ Ward at The Parish at the House of Blues in New Orleans Monday, March 11. Doors open at 7 p.m., and tickets can be purchased at http://www.houseofblues.com/tickets/ More info about The Wild Feathers is available at http://www.thewildfeathers.com/