The Wild Feathers are like burritos. Try ‘em and you’ll like them.
“Alvarado,” the title song of the quintet’s new album, is a nod to one of their favorite restaurants, a major endorsement from such hungry road warriors.
Crystal Bay Casino on Friday, March 25, is part of a five-shows-in-as-many-nights-across-1,864-miles run. That’s Tempe, Arizona to Pioneertown, California to Lake Tahoe to Salt Lake City to Denver. There’s no time to detour to Burrito King at the corner of N. Alvarado Street and W. Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, a hole in the wall that was the inspiration for The Flying Burrito Brothers band name. There’s more than a gastronomical connection to the band founded by Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman. Songwriters Joel King, Taylor Burns and Ricky Young, sing three-part-harmonies that identifies with the pioneering California country group.
“You can’t let go until you hold on to something,” is a lyrical hook to “Alvarado,” the opening song on the record.
“Ricky came up with that,” King said. “We said, ‘Man, this one just feels easy and good and right,’ and it felt like it tied all of the rest of the songs together. It fit every little thing we’ve got going on: Western, harmonies, midtempos, dissonant chords.”
The band, which cut ties with the Warner Brothers label during the live-music lockdown, set up shop in a cabin in rural Vanleer, Tennessee, hoping to write and capture the vibe and energy of spontaneous new songs.
“The whole point was get up in the morning and jam way into the night and on the next day listen to what we did,” King said. “We don’t get that kind of opportunity like when we were 19. We are grown-ass men.
“Jams turn into something. Being songwriters, we’re just thinking of shit all the time. I have 700 just little ideas in my phone. It’s like, I’ve got this idea, you’ve got that idea and maybe the two of them can go together. We just piece it together and that’s what those cabin (sessions) really do.”
And as good country songs do, the songs tell stories. And the music draws comparison to great styles across the decades.
Spin the record a few times and appreciate this studied collection of musicians and their nuanced verses, thoughtful arrangements and addictive melodies. The concluding track, “Another Sunny Day,” is a reflective piece that feels like smoking and strumming on the porch at the end of a day. It’s positively The Wild Feathers.
The album grabbed the attention of New West Records, which has a stable of like-minded artists such as Nikki Lane, Luther Dickinson and Los Lobos.
King described the strategy: “Let’s make a record, only us, no outside influence, and then we’ll see if anybody will want to buy it and put it out. It’s the first time we made a plan and it actually worked.”
Texas’ Jonathan Tyler, who last appeared at Crystal Bay Casino in 2010 with his band The Northern Lights, will open with a solo acoustic set.
This one’s looking like one of those “can’t-miss” Crown Room events.
“We love that California country type mode but we also like to rock,” King said. “Can’t help but turn the amps up sometimes because I still love Led Zeppelin, too. Our fan base is an Americana-y crowd. In that same vein, they are people who like to listen to music, actually listen to it, not just background.”
The Wild Feathers
Opener: Jonathan Tyler
When: 8 p.m. Friday, March 25
Where: Crystal Bay Casino Crown Room
Tickets: $25 in advance or $30 on the day of the show