ACL Artist Discovery Series

The Wild Feathers' ACL Fest appearance promises to call up rock's glory days

Rediscover the glory days of rock with The Wild Feathers at ACL Fest

The Wild Feathers
Nashville's The Wild Feathers play ACL Fest on October 6 and October 13.  Courtesy of ACL Fest

Editor's note: Leading up to Austin City Limits Music Festival, CultureMap is featuring exclusive artist profiles from ACL's Artist Discovery Series. This week, we feature The Wild Feathers, a Nashville-based rock band playing both weekends of the festival. 

Solid rock sounds infused with Southern roots and ‘70s nostalgia: That’s the name of the game for Nashville’s The Wild Feathers. The band may now call Tennessee home, but Austin is where The Wild Feathers' sound first came to life in 2010.

“Ricky [Young] and I wanted to do something with a bunch of singers, not just one lead,” says co-founder Joel King about the band’s naissance. Thanks to suggestions from friends, the two found their musical matches in Texas, forming a band that exists outside of the standard frontman-and-backup-vocals formation. The Wild Feathers' sound builds equally on the voices of the entire group; the result — which King calls the “four-headed monster” — is at once powerful and original.

 The band expertly melds the best elements of classic rock, country and blues for a sound that is nostalgic but not trite.  

When you dig into The Wild Feathers’ small but impressive catalog, you’ll likely discover something familiar in the band’s sound. But it isn’t mimicry that you’ll hear. The band expertly melds the best elements of classic rock, country and blues for a sound that is nostalgic but not trite.

The goal, Young says, is “to create something bigger than any one of us individually and write great songs that last the test of time.” While lofty, it’s safe to say that the band is on track for such weighty success.

Released in 2013, The Wild Feathers’ self-titled debut impressively balances a mix of sun-kissed, feel-good rock grooves and deeper anthems — the kind that end up defining a generation. Influences on The Wild Feathers are wide: you’ll catch glimpses of Americana Ryan Adams, Deep South Allman Brothers and fun-loving Cheap Trick.

Upbeat “American” harkens back to 1970s rock ‘n’ roll, when simple hooks and pretty, melodic harmonies were standard fare. “Hard Times” is a soulful standout, fueled with elements of the blues and the anthem-like qualities of Southern classics from the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd. 

Give an extra listen to the album’s two bonus tracks, “Kitchen Breeze” and “Wine and Vinegar.” The surprise additions are a perfect marriage of country roots overlaid with beautiful vocals and soulful musical arrangements, showing the true depth of this young band.

Though the band is young, The Wild Feathers’ history is rich in sharing the stage with stalwarts that likely influence their wide-reaching sound. In 2011, they were tapped to open for Paul Simon, and this past summer, they toured with Willie Nelson. Currently on tour with ZZ Ward, The Wild Feathers will play both Sundays of ACL Fest on the BMI Stage.

Get a head start on the festival fun with The Wild Feathers' Quintessential Rock Sounds playlist, available on the ACL Fest website