An Interview with Ricky Young of The Wild Feathers

This pandemic is ongoing. Never-ending, it seems. Luckily for vinyl addicts like us, we’ve got plenty of music to keep us occupied. Still, we need new music in our lives. So, if you’re looking for some great new music that’s reminiscent of age old favorites like The Band, The Eagles and CSNY, then you’ve come to the right place. The Wild Feathers are of the best kept secrets out of Nashville. Although, considering they’ve toured with greats such as Paul Simon, Bob Seger and Bob Dylan, maybe they’re aren’t so secret after all! All of that aside, The Wild Feathers are a really great band, and they’ve got a new album out! It’s called Medium Rarities. It’s a vinyl only release and you can grab it here. And so, if you’re lookin for some straight up quality music to pass the time during the pandemic, give The Wild Feathers a try! If you’re interested in learning more about The Wild Feathers, you can head here. And so, without further adieu, let’s get started with my “sit down” with Ricky Young. Ricky is a great guy and I hope you enjoy getting to know him a little better. I know I did.

Andrew:
Ricky, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us! Tell us about your back story. How did you start playing music? What was your musical gateway so to speak? 

Ricky:
I can’t really remember not loving music and wanting to be in a band. I loved Top-40 radio and all the Classic Rock bands my dad loved. I remember being in my dad’s truck when I was around 8 or so and hearing Fleetwood Mac‘s ‘Dreams’ and it kind of hitting me. I remember thinking, “Wow that’s a great song, I wonder how they did that?” I didn’t start writing until I was around 15 and I’ve been obsessed with it ever since. You sit down with a guitar or at a piano with nothing, and eventually, it’s there. I love that feeling.

Andrew:
The Wild Feathers formed in 2010. Happy 10th anniversary! Anyway, how did the band form?

Ricky:
Thanks!! Joel and I started writing songs with the idea of doing a CSNY type thing with multiple singers and lots of harmony. We met Taylor not long after and it just worked.

Andrew:
My understanding is that yourself, Joel and Taylor were all lead singers in previous bands. That’s an interesting dynamic for sure. You guys have some pretty unique and dynamic vocal harmonies as a result. Can you expand a bit more on what it’s like having three equally awesome lead singers?

Ricky:
Well our love for The Band has a lot do with it. We’re not classically trained singers and we’d much rather hear Keith Richards sing on top of Jagger than any other soulless harmony sang to perfection. The way Rick Danko would sing a harmony over Levon as if he were singing the lead was always our approach. Conviction over perfection.

Andrew:
I’ve been following the band since your first album, The Wild Feathers, which was released in 2013. How do you feel you’ve grown as a band since then?

Ricky:
I think we’ve matured in our everyday lives and musically. When you have a wiser perspective on things, it just helps with making music. Sometimes it can get in the way though. When you’re younger, you tend to be more reactive and over confident and that can be useful when creating. But I like where we’re at right now. We’ve learned not to take things for granted and to work hard and enjoy the process.

Andrew:
You haven’t released a new album since 2018’s Greetings from the Neon Frontier. However, my understanding is you’re gearing up for a new record called Medium Rarities, and it’s a vinyl-only release! Tell us more about that!

Ricky:
We are always writing, so whenever we decide it’s time to put a record out, we usually have 30 plus songs to choose from. These songs on the new album are just songs that we loved, but didn’t quite make the cut. Not to say they’re not good enough, but just didn’t fit in the album at the time. We have tons of songs on hard drives at Joel’s studio and since we couldn’t tour this year, we decided to put some unreleased songs out there for people to hear.

Andrew:
Piggy backing onto my last question, what led you to shoot for a vinyl only release? Are you big fans of the medium? 

Ricky:
We’re all big fans of vinyl. I can still smell the records in my dad’s collection when I was a kid and looking at the big artwork, then eventually reading all the songwriting and who played on them. It’s kind of a lost art form and I’m glad to see it make a comeback. It’s just really cool to see and hear your music spinning around on a turntable.

Andrew:
Here’s an easy one! Where can we get your new album? When does it officially become available? 

Ricky:
Medium Rarities comes out on November 20th. It can be pre-ordered now at this link. The vinyl pressing will be available exclusively through Magnolia Record Club.

Andrew:
You guys have a great blend of Southern Rock, Americana, Blues and Folk, coupled with those wonderful vocal harmonies. Obviously, comparisons to The Eagles and The Band come to mind. Who are your biggest influences? How did you develop your signature sound? 

Ricky:
We’re big fans of great songs. It really doesn’t matter what kind of genre of music; if the song is great and it’s captured in a way that makes you believe it, we’re fans. There’s too many artists and bands to name, but if you hear something familiar in our music, chances are you’re right. We listen to a lot of music.

Andrew:
You’ve had the opportunity to tour with the likes of Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and ZZ Ward. What have those experiences been like? 

Ricky:
We’ve been so fortunate to tour with Dylan, Willie, Bob Seger and Paul Simon. Every experience has been great and life changing. Watching Seger’s show every night was like taking a course in American Rock and Roll. Hanging with these guys teaches you so much musically and how to treat people the right way.

Andrew:
As I alluded to before, you guys sort of straddle the line of many genres. Is that intentional, or does it come naturally for you? How do you feel about the idea of defined genres in general?

Ricky:
We’ve always just simply called ourselves a Rock and Roll band. I think it comes pretty natural because we just absorb it all and aren’t afraid to use the influences.

Andrew:
Shifting gears a bit here, what do you feel could be better within the industry for both the fans and artists alike?

Ricky:
Obviously, I wish people still bought music. I know that some still do, but there’s just something about going to a record store and having that physical connection. I believe there’s a lot of positive stuff that comes with the digital age, but it can, and does, get over saturated when your uncle can record a song on GarageBand and have it up on Spotify.

Andrew:
Do you collect vinyl? Tapes? CD’s? Or are you all digital now? If so, what are some albums that mean the most to you? Where do you like to shop for music?

Ricky:
We all collect vinyl. I LOVE cassettes, but don’t have a lot. Grimey’s and Vinyl Tap here in Nashville are my personal favorites.

Andrew:
Has today’s musical landscape changed for better or worse? What advice do you have for young musicians trying to get their start?

Ricky:
Both. My advice would be to focus on writing the best songs you can and then write 100 more. Practice like crazy and play live as much as possible.

Interested in sampling The Wild Feathers? Check out the link below:

Dig this interview? Check out the full catalog of Vinyl Writer Interviews, by Andrew Daly, here: www.vinylwritermusic.com/interviews

Published by Andrew Daly

Since he was a young child growing up on Long Island, NY, Andrew has always loved writing and collecting physical music. Present-day, Andrew is proud to share his love of music with the world through his writing, and the result is nothing short of beautiful: articles and interviews written by a music addict for fellow music addicts. Andrew lives on Long Island and works as a Horticultural Operations Manager by day and runs the Vinyl Writer Music website by night.

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