Horse Feathers

Horse Feathers

Dead Horses

Wed · May 16, 2018

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 8:30 pm

$20 adv / $23 door

This event is all ages

Horse Feathers
Horse Feathers
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. One reason for this can be found in lead singer Justin Ringle’s distinctive voice, at once vulnerable and piercing, and in the quality of the music: gorgeous, lush string arrangements surrounding stark, visceral lyrics whose bite makes a piquant juxtaposition to the surrounding beauty.

Now, however, Horse Feathers has created an album that differs enough from its predecessors to suggest that the cat might get out of the bag. On Appreciation, their sixth full-length and the fifth on venerable independent label Kill Rock Stars, the signifiers of the band are there: Ringle’s warm tenor and 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. Longtime violinist Nathan Crockett and keyboardist Dustin Dybvig provide continuity, but much of Appreciation feels like the best of Ringle’s previous musical ideas just took a giant step into a larger arena.

Recorded primarily in Kentucky (at La-La Land Studios in Louisville and Shangri-La Studios in Lexington), the new album features instrumentalists J. Tom Hnatow, Robby Cosenza and R&B vocalist Joslyn Hampton, who helped make Appreciation a mixture of strutting ‘70s-style country-pop (“Without Applause,” “Don’t Mean To Pry”) and supple soul (“Best To Leave,” “Evictions”). But Horse Feathers hasn’t gained accessibility at the expense of quality, nor at the expense of their signature instrumentation (“The Hex” might be the only R&B/soul song where the rhythmic lead is played on banjo). For those who crave what NPR called “the densely pretty seethe of Horse Feathers’ earlier ballads”, the album delivers “Born in Love” and “On the Rise”, accentuating the string surge with Hammond organ, piano, tambourine, and finger snaps.

“It just felt like a fresh take on how my songs can come across,” Ringle says. “With this incarnation, it’s okay if what I’m doing right now is in fact kind of a pop song. I can have a chorus and repeat something. I’m more aware of that and enjoy it.”

This artistic adjustment comes in the wake of a lot of changes in Ringle’s life. Not too long ago, he left his former hometown of Portland for the coastal city Astoria, Oregon. He’s also been dipping his toes into the world of record production, helping North Carolina band River Whyless with the recording of their last album We All The Light. After a while of bouncing between three states, as well as stops in Camas, Washington to finish Appreciation with longtime compatriot Skyler Norwood at Miracle Lake Studios, Ringle is finally settling down just in time to get ready to hit the road with Horse Feathers in support of this new album. “I wanna get out there and do my job,” he says.

Diehard fans are going to find plenty to cherish on Appreciation. But they’re 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.
Dead Horses
Dead Horses
At fifteen, Dead Horses frontwoman Sarah Vos’ world turned upside down. Raised in a strict, fundamentalist home, Vos lost everything when she and her family were expelled from the rural Wisconsin church where her father had long served as pastor. What happened next is the story of Dead Horses’ stunning new album, ‘My Mother the Moon,” a record full of trauma and triumph, despair and hope, pain and resilience.

Blending elements of traditional roots with contemporary indie folk, the album is both familiar and unexpected, unflinchingly honest in its portrayal of modern American life, yet optimistic in its unshakable faith in brighter days to come. Earthy and organic, Vos’ songs often reveal themselves to be exercises in empathy and outreach; she writes not only to find meaning in the struggles she’s endured, but also to embrace kindred souls on their own personal journeys of self-discovery. As much as the album is a reckoning with the past and everything she witnessed growing up (mental illness, poverty, addiction, and violence), it’s also an effort to shape the future, to build a community based around art and love and beauty and acceptance, a community to replace the one she was so brusquely robbed of as a child.

‘My Mother the Moon’ is Dead Horses’ third album, and it follows hot on the heels of their acclaimed 2016 release, ‘Cartoon Moon,’ which Wisconsin Public Radio called “equally beautiful and effortless.” That record prompted the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to declare Dead Horses a Band To Watch and earned them honors for "Best Album," "Best Americana/Bluegrass Artist," and "Best Female Vocalist" at the 2017 WAMI Awards. American Songwriter called Vos “a compelling vocalist…who carries every tune with her husky, deeply emotional tone that feels lived in and real,” while No Depression hailed her songwriting as “beautiful and fresh.” With a fleshed out touring lineup, the group logged countless miles, sharing bills along the way with Trampled by Turtles, Mandolin Orange, and Elephant Revival in addition to making festival appearances from Bristol Rhythm and Roots to WinterWonderGrass.
Venue Information:
The Chapel
777 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA, 94110
http://www.thechapelsf.com