One of Nashville’s top candidates for “Next Big Thing,” The Wild Feathers made a return to their hometown on Saturday night with a triumphant show at Music City’s most venerable venue, the Ryman Auditorium. It was a show that brought adoration from the audience and provided ample proof that the Feathers are evolving into a band truly worthy of the hype that has surrounded them.
From the opening harmonies of “Help Me Out,” there was no doubt that The Wild Feathers have matured into a first class rock band, and one that has outgrown the comfy but constricting Americana clubhouse. They’ve honed their sound over the last three years with hundreds of live appearances, ranging from small clubs to opening spots for such major league rock dinosaurs as Bob Dylan and Paul Simon. The experience that they’ve accumulated from the hardcore troubadour life was plainly evident in the Mother Church of Country Music as the sound they brought to the stage was big, bold, and confident, invoking memories of the truly great anthemic arena rock band of the ’70s and ’80s, while also maintaining a direct connection to their audience.
Over the course of a nearly two hour set the band worked its way through a majority of the tracks from their two albums, 2013’s self-titled debut, and the recently released Lonely is a Lifetime. Although the set list delivered little in the way of surprises, the reception from the audience and the guest appearance by both former Wild Feathers guitarists, Preston Wemberly, helped transform the evening’s hometown victory lap into a truly special event. His presence especially energized the show’s last number, a slow, soulful take on the Beatles’ “With a Little Help From my Friends.” Along with openers Jamestown Revival, The Wild Feathers took their standard show closer from being a simple musical jam to a uniquely Nashville moment.
Near the end of the evening’s set singer-guitarist Ricky Young said, “So many dreams are coming true here tonight.” The audience instantly responded to that joyful declaration with a resounding roar of approval. For the Wild Feathers it was a moment of triumph shared with fans and a reaffirmation of the road that has taken them from being just another Nashville rock band to hometown rock’n’roll heroes.
The Wild Feathers return to Nashville for Lightning 100's Live on the Green 2016 on Friday Sept. 2