The Wild Feathers

REVIEW: The Wild Feathers “Alvarado”


The Wild Feathers — Alvarado

Signing a new deal with a label – the RIGHT label – can re-energize a band, giving it a new sense of purpose and, hopefully, a little more creative freedom. After inking a deal with Americana stalwart New West Records, Nashville-based band The Wild Feathers felt confident enough in their new situation and their own abilities to self-produce their next album (a process they enjoyed during tracking three new songs for their 2020 compilation, Medium Rarities). The result is Alvarado, the band’s loosest record to date.

That ultimately fruitful experiment for Medium Rarities not only encouraged the band to do it their way, but also led to the re-discovery of Alvarado’s title track, an eight-year-old tune that they’d recorded but never released. The downbeat rocker, full of raw guitar and sweet harmonies, reflects a little bit of what the band itself went through – giving up the present to move toward something better: “You can’t let go ‘til you hold onto something.” “Ain’t Lookin’” is a true Southern rocker, driven by organ and wailing guitars. And “Over the Edge” is mid-tempo and radio-ready, while gently nudging listeners to consider how far we’ve regressed as a nation – “We’ve gone too far to go back/We don’t know how to turn it around.”

The album also features a requisite highway rocker – “Out on the Road” relates any number of hazards faced by touring musicians: “On up ahead underneath the green light/Please don’t say that’s the hotel tonight.” But Alvarado finds a band unwilling to easily pigeonhole themselves. “Get Out of My Own Way” flirts with some good ol’ 50s reverb, while “Top of the World,” even with some steel thrown in, takes on a shimmery, indie rock feel.

Alvarado was largely recorded in a cabin outside of Nashville, and a number of tunes on the record have a front-porch feel. “Long Shot” begins with a burst of percussion before giving us a blend of acoustic guitar and harmonica while urging the listener to heed the band’s risk-taking lead – “So don’t tell me about the consequences/I don’t want to know the odds.” And album-closer “Another Sunny Day,” with its loping acoustic/slide melody speckled with a little mandolin, finds a band happy with where they are – “I’m gonna sit right here in the sunshine/Leave these rainy day women behind – while also thinking of the future: “There’s pain in my past, but I’m moving forward.” On Alvarado, at least, the pain – and the risks – have paid off.

Song I Can’t Wait to Hear Live: “Midway Motel” – all about people-watching at a bar, one of my own favorite pastimes (and a great source for songwriting).

The Wild Feathers is Joel King, Ricky Young, Taylor Burns, Ben Dumas and Brett Moore. Alvarado was produced by the band, recorded by King, Marshall Schoening and Austin Schroeder, mixed by Jason Hall and mastered by Fred Kevorkian. Songs were written by Burns, King and Young, with co-writes going to Jeff Steele and Will Hoge.

Go here to order Alvarado (out October 8) –

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