Myriam Santos

The rock 'n' roll (and other genres, too) group The Wild Feathers.

Wild Feathers down to open for Willie

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013 - 12:00 am
Last Modified: Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013 - 10:28 am

The Wild Feathers' Twitter profile bears a memorable description:

"They're like if Led Zeppelin and The Band had a baby in Joshua Tree that grew up listening to Ryan Adams covering the Stones' '70s country-influenced songs."

"We thought it was great, and funny," said Ricky Young, guitarist and one of the up-and-coming band's four singersongwriters. "But we did not come up with it ourselves."

The words came by text message from a friend of a friend, and they're pretty accurate. The Wild Feathers grew up listening to those listed bands. And the influences can be heard in their music -- the rock 'n' roll band dropped its first record a week ago today, the same day it started touring with Willie Nelson. They're all scheduled to play Sacramento's Community Center Theater on Wednesday.

The Wild Feathers -- Young, Joel King, Taylor Burns, Preston Wimberly and Ben Dumas -- formed in Austin, Texas, in 2010, moved to Nashville and somehow landed an opening slot on Paul Simon's tour one year later.

How does a band with no album get such a gig?

Young chalks it up to an amazing team, faith and support. It's been a whirlwind since then -- the band has been touring nonstop since January. It has played giant festivals, including Austin's SXSW and San Francisco's recent Outside Lands. It opened for Bob Dylan, a hero, and now it's on tour with Nelson, another hero.

"It's a trip to share the stage with him," Young said.

"There's no way you can be so cool and act like that's not a huge deal."

The Wild Feathers' self-titled debut blends rock, country, blues and folk, with foot-stomping, four-voice melodies. The band enlisted Jay Joyce (Cage the Elephant, the Wallflowers) to produce the 12-song album, released by Warner Brothers Records. Songs were written collaboratively and recorded in an old-school fashion -- the band played live to tape, all together.

"It's how our favorite records growing up were made," Young said. "Music is always changing and changing, and comes back around to its tradition form. That's what we're trying to do -- bring it back to a pure place."

Critical acclaim is starting to pour in. Rolling Stone said The Wild Feathers "channel American rock spirit throughand-through on their solid, eponymous debut album" and that their memorable single "The Ceiling" is "something that fans of heartland artists like the Avett Brothers and My Morning Jacket will appreciate while it recalls the magic of Tom Petty and Neil Young."

After eight gigs with Nelson, The Wild Feathers will embark on a tour with ZZ Ward. Young hopes for some rest over the holidays, but there is talk of shows in the United Kingdom and Australia. A break from the foot-stomping live shows isn't in sight yet.

"We don't have a lot of time to sit around and think about it," Young said. "It feels like it has been a lifetime since we recorded the record. So much has happened."

Call The Bee's Janelle Bitker, (916) 321-1027. Follow her in Twitter @JanelleBitker.

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