The Wild Feathers wing it to fete Valahalla Tahoe’s 40th

The Wild Feathers
The Wild Feathers’ national tour stopped at the Valhalla Grand Lawn on Aug. 22 in South Lake Tahoe.

The Wild Feathers are winging it toward Tahoe. Expect some lakeside rock and roll when they get here.

The band calls Nashville home these days, but its players hail from Oklahoma, Texas, Georgia and North Carolina. There’s a little Southern to this rock, but it’s not your beer and pickup on a Saturday night country band.

Celebrating the sixth year since their debut, self-titled album, The Wild Feathers are playing the 40th Anniversary Concert at Valhalla Tahoe, with a free 6 p.m. show Thursday on the venue’s Grand Lawn. The opener is singer-songwriter Kyle Ledson, a teen-age musician from Camptonville, California, a bustling stagecoach stop during the Gold Rush remembered as The Little Town That Could.

Having endured an untimely downpour during their set in Yerington, Nevada, last month, The Wild Feathers are looking forward to a cool sunset over the shores of Lake Tahoe when they perform. The band is touring in support of its third album, “Greetings from the Neon Frontier.” There’s not much neon in Tahoe, the vibrant colors are organic, which somewhat describes songs on the new, “earthy” album.

“It’s going to be be awesome,” singer and bass player Joel King said of Tahoe’s perfect summer weather. “This will be like a mini vacation. We’ve had some bad luck with weather this year — with heat and rain and humidity.”

Like the U.S. Postal Service, The Wild Feathers deliver. That pop-up storm in Yerington? No problem. Organizers asked the players if they wanted to get onstage.

“Hell yeah, we wanna go on. We’re not going anywhere,” was the reply, as King recalls.

King is one member of a three-part harmony team that includes guitar players Taylor Burns and Ricky Young. They started the band and were joined by drummer Ben Dumas and later by multi-instrumentalist Brett Moore.

“Greetings from the Neon Frontier” features the song “Big Sky,” which highlights the singers’ harmonizing, and moves from soft vocals to jamming guitars. It also conjures up visions of Montana, where cowboys are cowboys and “not just rednecks,” King says.

“There’s an earthy vibe to the record, like getting back to nature,” he said.

Free as a highway / Wild as the wind… /Wide open spaces / Cool mountain breezes / Reachin’ down to save my soul / Take these city blues away / The closest thing to heaven that you’ll find / Headin’ for the big sky..

King is partial to the album’s opening track, “Quitin’ Time.” The players went off the grid and left their cellphones when working on the album and “we took a bunch of mushrooms, too” before jamming on that song. That gives new meaning to the musician’s description of Neon Highways’ offerings as “I hate to use the word ‘organic.’ ” It’s a relationship song, actually.

“Everybody had their hands in it, so that was kind of cool,” King said.

Throw my heart out the window again / I don’t think Heaven will take us in / Take my pride, sell it all to your friends / A bottle of whiskey and it’s quitting time again / It’s quitting time again!

Expect a couple of classic rock covers during the Valhalla Tahoe show. Maybe some Stones or Zeppelin, Tom Petty or even The Band. Just don’s ask for “Free Bird.”

“We’ll play that some day (when ‘that guy’ in the crowd yells it out), but we want to have the guitar solo down”

These are The Wild Feathers, though, and they’ve traveled a million miles in the past decade, with places they’ve still yet to see. But they’ll float some sweet rock and roll over the shores of Lake Tahoe on Thursday evening.

— Randy Hashagen

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Tahoe Onstage is an online entertainment and sports magazine covering Lake Tahoe, Truckee, Reno, the Carson Valley and June Lake.

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