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Wild Feathers enjoying success, busy life on the road

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From left, Ben Dumas, Ricky Young, Taylor Burns and Joel King are folk-rockers The Wild Feathers. (Courtesy Frank Maddocks)

Guitarist Ricky Young is happy about the acclaim his Nashville folk-rock outfit The Wild Feathers garnered for its eponymous 2013 debut, which had three harmonizing lead vocalists (Young, his co-guitarist Taylor Burns and bassist Joel King) and drummer Ben Dumas. But he wishes he had enough down time to truly savor it. “It’s just been go, go, go,” he says. “As soon as we toured the U.K. and Europe, we went right back on American tour. We did 250 dates one year, and the next year we did 175. And now we have this new record that just came out, ‘Lonely Is a Lifetime.’ It’s just been insane!”

Touring so much, you came to truly understand The Wild Feathers sound?

When you play together every single night, you can’t help but get better, and even learn how to read each other’s minds. So we just kind of take the music where it wants to go. We’re constantly growing musically, and then if you can do it together, as one unit? It’s pretty natural, you know?

It sounds idyllic. But don’t you ever get into arguments in the tour van?

Well, sure – everyone gets unhappy at times. But we actually get along too well, and most of our arguments are about where we’re going to go eat each night. But musically? No – we respect this and appreciate it too much, so there might be disagreements, but never any personal or demeaning exchanges.

What’s your secret?

No secret. We’re really just glad to be in the position that we’re in right now, and we’re having a great time. We love and respect each other as grown men – we’re not high school kids or in our early twenties, where it’s all about your ego. We’re trying to be professional because we’re making a career out of this.

So the road is actually your friend?

These days, it’s difficult for you to put out, say, a “Sgt. Pepper’s” and everyone’s going to automatically buy it without you having to do anything. You have to tour. It’s the way you make money, and how you engage, and interact with, your fans. It’s part of the job.

And the road shaped “Lonely,” too?

Yeah. Touring the last album, we accumulated a lot of voice memos with ideas on our phones, plus soundchecks — where we were jamming on an idea — that we’d recorded. So for a week, we went to a cabin by a lake in Muscle Shoals to make all those ideas come to fruition and reality. And we also did the same thing in Spain; we were in Barcelona for two weeks.


The Wild Feathers
Where: Independent, 628 Divisadero St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. April 7
Tickets: $17
Contact: (415) 771-1421, www.ticketfly.com

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