Chattanooga Now Wild Feathers bring Neon Frontier tour to Songbirds

Chattanooga Now Wild Feathers bring Neon Frontier tour to Songbirds

May 15th, 2019 by Susan Pierce in Chattnow Music

The Wild Feathers / Alysse Gafkjen Photo

Photo by Alysse Gafkjen

Even though The Wild Feathers formed eight years ago, it wasn't until the band released "Greetings From the Neon Frontier" last year, with its hit single "Big Sky," followed by being named a Highway Find by Sirius XM Radio's Highway channel that their career took off.

That endless touring for six years to build a fan base is captured in "Wildfire," an autobiographical single that describes:

Living out my days in a rock 'n' roll band

Countryside, desert sand

Moonlight, highways that never end

Singing songs about who I am

Held the truth in my hand

Trying to make you understand

Right after getting that validation from The Highway, The Wild Feathers were on the road again; this time, touring with Brothers Osborne. They finished that tour only to go back on the road headlining their own "Neon Frontier" tour, which pulls into town Thursday for a 9 p.m. show in Songbirds South.

The Wild Feathers are unique in that three of the founding four members — Ricky Young, Taylor Burns and Joel King — were lead singers in previous bands. Drummer Ben Dumas completes the original group.

Wild Feathers' lush harmonies set them apart from other country bands. But in an odd twist, what makes them different also makes them sound eerily like a flashback to the '70s. Their sound is frequently compared to The Eagles — but singer-guitarist Young says they'll take that as a compliment.

"When you are younger, you don't like to be compared to others because you think you are 100 percent original. But we grew up on those records — and whether you are into that or not, they are in your subconscious.

"It would be great if we did more than sound like The Eagles," he jokes. "I wish we shared their income. That would be great."

The band's unmistakable harmonies were hard work at first, says Young, but after hundreds of shows together those chords are ingrained and they slide easily into their parts.

"When we first started singing together, they were difficult. But we were determined to do this Crosby, Stills and Nash kind of thing and we wouldn't give up on it. It's always a challenge when trying to figure out harmony — it's like figuring out a puzzle in the dark. But it becomes fun once it's nailed down."

Young says even though they are all strong writers individually, they are smart enough to know they are better together.

"Sometimes I'll write a song to completion in the morning. It's my song, but I want them to do what they do to it as well."

And in their writing, they've realized they come at the craft from a distinct angle.

"We tend to write about the struggle as opposed to the celebration of something good," he says.

"The majority of songwriters say, 'If you're happy and things are good, you want to go out and enjoy it.' But there's nothing to get off your chest and deal with and cope with. Sometimes with pain or frustration, you tend to write about that to help cope with them. Some people write in a journal to express their feelings, some people work out in a gym to cope — for us, it happens to be writing songs."

Young says the band is already writing new music and preparing for their next album, although there's no date set yet to go into the studio. Young says this tour is exciting to the band not only because it is their "first batch of headlining shows" but because "we get to play way longer than usual and we get to play whatever we want."

He says fans coming to hear them Thursday night at Songbirds will hear music spanning the band's catalog, plus covers from bands they enjoy listening to.

"It will be a really fun night of music and some random surprises. It will be fun for Wild Feather fans."

Contact Susan Pierce at spierce@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6284.