Album Reviews

The Wild Feathers

Lonely Is A Lifetime

Artist:     The Wild Feathers

Album:     Lonely Is A Lifetime

Label:     Warner Bros. Records

Release Date:     03/11/2016


The Wild Feathers got together in 2010 and toured nearly non-stop for three years. The band has opened for Bob Dylan, Gary Clark, Jr, Paul Simon and Willie Nelson, and headlined on smaller stages of the biggest festivals in the country. For nearly a year, though, the band has toured minimally in order to write and record their second album, Lonely Is A Lifetime (Warner Bros. Records), which debuts today, and as we see it, it was worth the wait.

Guitarist and vocalist Ricky Young told Elmore “We fly out Monday to do some promo stuff in LA, then go hit SXSW, and then never end until this time next year. SXSW is always kind of a spring break for musicians. We’re excited…and I think the wives are excited for us to get out of the house. ”

We had the pleasure of stumbling on the group at Firefly, one of the biggest festivals in the country (Paul McCartney headlined) last summer, then we heard most of the album live at The Box, a mildly notorious club on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, and finally two songs, “Overnight” and “Goodbye Song” on Jimmy Kimmel Live, just a couple days before release, and were impressed each time. It’s not often a group can seem at home, confident and on their game in three totally different environments, but Wild Feathers pulled it off.

Like Elmore, Wild Feathers prefers the term “American” over “Americana” to describe their music. Often compared to the Kings of Leon, they’ve been influenced not only by the giants they have toured with, but by rockers like Tom Petty and the Allman Brothers. Unlike any of their influences, however, they have three singers who alternate lead—often within the same song, as on “Leave Your Light On”—and also harmonize as a trio (as opposed to a lead and two backup singers), which they do on the title track, “Lonely Is A Lifetime.” That versatility cuts both ways. On one hand, Wild Feathers has a breadth of sound that few groups have, but as a younger group, they also lack the signature sound that one distinctive, consistent lead vocal produces, so even though many of the songs on Lonely Is A Lifetime would play well on radio, it make take longer for listeners to identify with the group. The good news is that the songs are strong enough to hold our attention, even if we initially don’t recognize the band.

When asked about his favorite “child” on Lonely Is A Lifetime, Young told us, “‘Goodbye Song’” is the collective favorite right now, because of the way it was created. On tour, you start leaning toward certain songs you’d like to play better, so we’ll just have to see, but right now I’m in love with the whole record.”

Driving rhythms, especially on “The Ceiling” put the band a little on the hard rock side of classic Southern rockers like the Allman Brothers, which is just fine by me. At their The Box show, and even on Jimmy Kimmel, the band busts it out. These guys come on loud and raucous, especially on rock anthems like “Into the Sun.” No feathers here, trust me.

Photo: Frank Maddocks
Photo: Frank Maddocks

You can tell a lot about performers from their footwear. Aretha Franklin wears stilettos, Paul McCartney wears Beatle boots and Graham Nash goes barefoot. The Wild Feathers frontmen wore ropers, one pair of hiking and one pair of work boots. This band’s foot gear, like their music, is no-nonsense, and built to last.

—Suzanne Cadgène

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