Dazed and confused. There’s no other way to describe the ecstatic crowd at The Wild Feathers’ March 7 concert at Tucson's Club Congress. Throughout their exceptional 90-minute set, the hard driving band – Ricky Young (rhythm guitar), Joel King (bass), Taylor Burns (guitar), Ben Dumas (drums) and Preston Wimberly (you name it) – served the masses one delicious helping after another of their matchless Southern fried kickin’ – rock that is.
But the hungry throng couldn’t quite put their collective calloused fingers on the different flavors infusing the Feathers’ secret musical recipe. Was that a taste of Lynyrd Skynyrd on the fast-paced “Backwoods Company”? That had to be a trace of The Rolling Stones on “American,” didn’t it? Maybe a little Eagles on the harmoniously electrified “If You Don’t Love Me”? An unmistakable shade of The Band on the powerful “Hard Times”? Poco, Allman Brothers – they were all there.
Perhaps it was the fact that music lovers like their bands in neat little boxes. Maybe it was just the fear of the melodic unknown. Whatever or whoever it was, after futilely pondering the imponderable for the first 15 minutes of the remarkable show, the crowd wisely just decided to kick back and relish the 11 mind-blowing original tunes – each one a gem from the Feathers’ dazzling self-titled debut record.
Along the way, the concertgoers enjoyed outstanding four-part harmonies – Young, King, Burns and Wimberly are all former lead vocalists – on one refrain after another, highlighted by the country rockish “Got It Wrong.” Throughout the inspired set, the capable “frontmen” were more than willing to share the spotlight, whether it be lead vocals, lead guitar or bass solo.
But talented multi-instrumentalist Wimberly’s memorable pedal steel work on the countrified “Kitchen Breeze” and his monumental guitar solos – highlighted by a great “case of the bends” on “Left My Woman” – earned him a gold star for the night from this music writer.
Notwithstanding the bandmates' stellar work on stage, the night’s real winners were the Club Congress faithful. After a long, challenging night of “name that band,” The Wild Feathers made it easy on the crowd with a pair of astounding encore tunes, beginning with an unforgettable cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Hey Hey What Can I Do (I Got A Woman)” – made even more impressive by Burns’ affecting vocals and Wimberly’s pedal steel work.
The Feathers closed the show by inviting opening bands Jamestown Revival and Saints of Valory to join them on stage for an incredibly stirring rendition of The Band’s “The Weight.” And while I didn’t speak to each and every fan that was lucky enough to witness the collective musical brilliance, I have no doubts that they would all anoint the blessed event as one of their respective top concert happenings ever.
And that alone my musical friends, is reason enough to put The Wild Feathers on your “Must See Bands List.”