Horse Feathers

About

Horse Feathers is an American indie folk band from Portland, Oregon.

Cynic’s New Year” professes an ending but welcomes Horse Feathers’ fans with the promise of something new. To be sure, old friends return. Wrapped around the warmth of Justin Ringle’s vocals and sparkling guitar, fiddles dance in the spaces between, above the smoky banjo and woven through the foundation of the lower strings. The lyrics traverse familiar themes from natural disaster to the deeply personal, each through Justin Ringle’s uniquely American linguistic lens. New vistas, new stories, are explored with deep insight and fresh intimacy, always with an abiding respect and affection. The universe rises to threaten, inspire and sometimes punish, but always to teach a valuable lesson. Souls, lost and found, embark on thoughtful emotional journeys.

The single, “Fit against the Country” (live session video below), renders a nation where working men and women shoulder their careworn lives with neither apology nor surrender. These are words that need to be held close, owing their poignance as much to the savor of their pure sound as to their meaning. “Where I’ll Be”, another single from this brilliant collection, has an infectious rhythmic cadence that marks it as one of the great train songs, and a compelling sentiment that belies the gray landscape it travels.

And no this is not the Marx Brothers 1932 film of the same name.

Web Links

Visit Official Website: http://horsefeatherstheband.com/

 

Videos

 

Horse Feathers - "Fit Against the Country" (Live at WFUV)

Product Info

Cynic's New Year by Horse Feathers (2012) Audio CD

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Words are Dead

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Manufacturer: Lucky Madison
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Editorial Review: Words are Dead is the critically acclaimed debut album that started it all for Horse Feathers. Nominated for Americana Album of the Year by the PLUG Independent Music Awards, counted among NPR's Best of 2006, the record became an instant classic and bestseller for Lucky Madison. Paste Magazine described it as a ''quiet mix of twang and crumple that instantly bewitched.'' Pitchfork said it was ''a homely relic in sepia tones and rough grains.'' Recorded primarily as a the Portland, Oregon duo of Justin Ringle and Peter Broderick, the album paved the way for the coming indie chamber folkster movement furthered by likeminded artists such as Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes.


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Appreciation

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Editorial Review: Horse Feathers feels like a secret you don't really want to share. Over twelve years and five albums, a passionate fan base has experienced this band as a precious commodity that they want to keep close to their hearts. On Appreciation, out May 4 on Kill Rock Stars, the signifiers of the band are there: Justin Ringle's warm tenor and taut lyrics that speak of work, love, and other struggles. But on this album less of the song dynamics are achieved with strings and more with an exciting new rhythm section steeped in Northern Soul, creating a sound that leaps into the spotlight. Diehard fans are going to have to make room in the club house for a lot more people with this album, the Horse Feathers secret is officially out. Catch them on tour in the US starting May 9.


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Thistled Spring

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Editorial Review: Justin Ringle has turned out to be a songwriter strongly influenced by the seasons. His Portland, Oregon-based band's last record, the critically acclaimed House With No Home, was a winter album par excellence, from its chilly cover art to its frostbitten songs of loneliness and loss.

But from the first piano notes of the title track, plinking like spring rain on a windowpane, Thistled Spring shows itself to be an album of rebirth, renewal, and fragile hope. The sun is out in the world evoked by this music, and in the first couple of songs it feels like the sun of early spring, glinting on a frosty river where the ice is just breaking up. "Thistled Spring" and "Starving Robins" both continue Ringle's trademark use of space in songwriting, but in this case the space is full of potential, like the spaces between drops of melting snow. The sun gets stronger and warmer as the album moves along, shining most brilliantly in the jaunty, joyous "Belly of June" , where Ringle's characteristically spare vocals become fattened up with delicious harmonies as the music swells with strings and banjo. Things get positively hot in "Cascades" and "The Drought" before blossoming into the full-fledged pop Americana gem "Vernonia Blues".

Thistled Spring as a whole displays a rich progression more textured and lush than the band s previous two albums, it also captures the skillful interplay of the band s current touring lineup of Ringle, violinist Nathan Crockett, cellist Catherine Odell, and multi-instrumentalist Sam Cooper. Lyrically Ringle continues to explore broken relationships, longing, and pain, but this album has an undercurrent of heat that translates to a thawing of frozen hearts, and music which rushes like spring torrents, all of which points to a resurgence of life after a hard winter.

Horse Feathers first album, Words Are Dead, received a Plug Awards nomination for Americana Album of the Year in 2007, and their second, House With No Home, sold over 12,000 copies, making it one of Kill Rock Stars best-selling debut records ever. The band has spent the last two years touring, and their live shows are characterized by packed houses of silent, attentive crowds listening intently to every note and every empty space. Their recent collaboration with members of the Oregon Ballet Theatre met with great critical acclaim, and 2010 will bring further touring in the US and Europe, including SXSW and multiple summer festivals.


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House With No Home

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Editorial Review: Born and raised in Lewiston, ID, Justin Ringle has a natural affinity with the West. Its space, beauty, and nonconformity seem to be reflected in the music of his band Horse Feathers, named after an expression he heard his grandfather use. In Ringle's hands, the common meaning of this expression comes to life: two things that can't possibly exist together are spun into a gossamer delicacy of music shot through with lyrical weight.

Justin grew up on Northwest labels like Sub Pop, Kill Rock Stars, and K Records, but soon broadened his horizons. Nebraska by Bruce Springsteen, Dylan's Blood on the Tracks, Fleetwood Mac, Willie Nelson and old country and blues like Lefty Frizzell and Son House have all contributed to shaping Horse Feather's arrestingly spare sound.

Moving from Idaho to Portland, OR in 2004, Justin recorded some demos, one of which found its way to Peter Broderick (Norfolk & Western, Dolorean, and Loch Lomond)a talented multi-instrumentalist. Peter was so taken by the songs he contacted Justin and offered to help record them properly. Later Peter's sister Heather Broderick joined the band on cello and backing vocals. Justin and Peter worked together to polish the material that became the group's first album, Words Are Dead which was released on the local Lucky Madison label in 2006. It received an enthusiastic response, including a nomination for the Plug Awards Americana Album of the Year.

After a year of touring the US in various incarnations, Horse Feathers signed to Kill Rock Stars and proceeded to record this, their second album: House With No Home. On it they have distilled their sound into a brilliant statement of minimalist Americana. Peter and Heather's precisely arranged strings step cautiously in and around Justin's haunting vocal lines, and the economy of music is also reflected in the lyrics a few evocative phrases tell rich stories, each word weighted and delivered with careful purpose. It is an album infused with rare power and emotion, restrained but always present, where the gaps between the notes can be as important as the notes themselves.


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