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You Have To Hear: Horse Feathers

Horse Feathers

So I’ve been looking at a lot of summer music lately- fitting given that I’m based in Australia, but maybe not so fitting for my international readers. So here’s a band that reminds me more of winter, Horse Feathers.

Horse Feathers are an indie folk band from Portland. They specialise in sweeping choruses, heartfelt lyrics, and a sound that feels more like it is coming from an orchestra than a few indie musicians. The band features a rotating lineup, however its pillars (when performing live) are Justin Ringle, Nathan Crockett, Catherine Odell, and Sam Cooper.

Justin Ringle started this project when he began performing at open mic nights under the moniker ‘Horse Feathers’. Since then the band has grown both in size and stature, and has undertaken extensive tours, as well as recording two full-length and acclaimed albums.

It is difficult to classify and explain the music of Horse Feathers. If you imagine Bon Iver without Justin Vernon’s falsetto and with a strings section… then you’ll still be nowhere near.

The music is acoustic, so that’s a start anyway. Justin Ringle also has a simply amazing voice, intricate and layered in itself. The real driving force behind the music, however, is undeniably the violins, cellos, mandolins, and violas. In their finest moments, the choruses of Horse Feathers don’t involve lyrics, but rather a sweeping string crescendo that says more than words ever could.

Theirs is a music of the wilderness, of nature, and of beauty. It is only natural that the human element takes a back seat to this sheer majesty. Despite this, their lyrics still do their subject matter and their music credit: “It’s in your eyes we fail to even try/It’s in our blood to watch each day go by” (‘In Our Blood’).

Horse Feathers’ first album, ‘Words Are Dead’ (a fitting name), was a fantastic introduction to their music, and even if their second full length, ‘House With No Home’, didn’t quite live up to expectations, it is still a fine work of musicianship.

At the very least, Horse Feathers need to be applauded for doing something different to most folk outfits in the world at the moment, and for capturing so spectacularly the natural beauty of this world, without using words (most of the time).

Listen if you like: Bon Iver, Iron And Wine, Sufjan Stevens, strings, winter, forests, camping

Artist: Horse Feathers

Song: In Our Blood

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One Response to “You Have To Hear: Horse Feathers”

  1. Gosh. I do love this band. They make me feel kind of wonderful, with a touch of melancholy. They are lovely. My favourite songs of theirs are Finch On Saturday, Curs in the Weed, Dustbowl, Hardwood Pews – actually the more I think of it I like all their songs, there are no faults.

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