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Review: The Wild Feathers @ Mercury Lounge 2.6.14

The Wild Feathers

NYC's Mercury Lounge is a great place to have drinks and check out some rising talent. A sold out crowd waited to fill up the back room and rock out to rising Americana act The Wild Feathers. Unfortunately, the early show at the venue went over a few minutes, and the eager crowd had to wait a little while longer to get inside.

Opening the evening were indie rock duo Jamestown Revival, comprising of long time friends Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance. Starting things off with "Wandering Man", you can immediately tell that these two gentleman have honed their eloquent craft. Joined by bassist Nick Bearden and drummer Ed Benrock,, the duo undoubtedly captivated the crowd with their concrete musicianship. Johnathan nonchalantly plucked away on his lap steel guitar while Chance frantically stomped behind the keys during the next track "Fur Coat Blues". The Wild Feathers' Preston Whimberly joined the group on stage for the number "Revival", adding some pedal steel action to the mix. Near the end of the song, Chance displayed some booming vocal skills as he howled for what seemed to be nearly an eternity. The duo ended the evening with "California (Cast Iron Soul)", a track about the "culture shock of moving to L.A. from Texas".

While Jamestown Revival set things off on the right path, Saints of Valory unknowingly changed the atmosphere inside Mercury Lounge. The Austin, Texas alternative rock band, featuring members born and raised in different parts of the world, would have been a much better fit opening for a like-minded act such as Kings of Leon. The music was indeed listenable, but most of the audience pretty much tuned out after the first two songs; some managed to ignore the band halfway through the opening song. Vocalist Gavin Jasper tried to get some crowd participation going with handclaps here and there, but it simply fell on deaf ears that night. The band still carried on for the few in the crowd who were tuned in to their live performance. While drummer Gerard Bouvier was in charge of the kit banging that night, it didn't stop the other members of the band from displaying their drumming skills, especially during the number "Long Time Coming" from their latest Possibilities EP. As the band took a bow after their final song, it was hard to tell if the lack of support from the crowd got to them.

The Wild Feathers have been riding high since the release of their self-titled major label debut album last summer. Performances on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Conan, Rachael Ray and The Late Show with Craig Ferguson have generated a ton of buzz for the Nashville band. It also doesn't hurt that they've played shows with legendary artists Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan. Their show at Mercury Lounge sold out rapidly, forcing the band to add another NYC gig at Brooklyn's Rough Trade set for the night before. Unfortunately, that show was canceled, but the band has added another NYC date at Bowery Ballroom in May.

After greeting the lively crowd with a powerful intro, the band kicked off their Mercury Lounge set with the track "Hard Wind" from their debut album. The thing that stands out about The Wild Feathers' live performance is the massive vocal delivery from guitarist Taylor Burns, acoustic guitarist Ricky Young, dobro/pedal steel maestro Preston Wimberly and bassist Joel King. The trio of Ricky, Taylor and Joel sounded absolutely gorgeous in unison, and each man had their own time to shine on the mic. While Preston didn't necessarily have a lot of solo time on the mic, his ace guitar solos easily made up for it.

While the band stuck to their self-titled album that night, they didn't shy away from tackling any covers; the band delivered a spectacular cover of Led Zeppelin's 1970 track "Hey Hey What Can I Do". The following track "Left My Woman" had the entire crowd singing along to its chorus while the band halted to hear their fans. The closing song "The Ceiling" found Ricky throwing his acoustic guitar to the ground while Taylor somehow knocked his mic right off its stand. After the finale, many people in attendance couldn't wait to snag tickets for their next NYC show. -Terrance Pryor