Horse Feathers

Agent: Lori Peters
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“On Horse Feathers’ sixth album, their introverted persona has thawed, revealing a surprising affinity for the joy of Stax-era and countrified-soul.” —Pitchfork

“…from Justin Ringle’s sandy-voiced warmth to lush string arrangements to fatalistic lyrics that undercut the surrounding swirl of sonic comfort food.” —NPR

“The arrangements are beautiful, borderline orchestral, and contribute to an expanding Horse Featherssoundscape… Horse Feathers are forging a new way forward.” —Exclaim!

“Horse Feathers has evolved expertly, and Appreciation is a case study in artistic growth.” —Pop Matters

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.

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“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.

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Horse Feathers Downloads:

Horse Feathers on Tour:

Date City Location Venue

Fri, 5 Oct 2018

BROOKLYN

NY

ROUGH TRADE

Sat, 6 Oct 2018

PROVIDENCE

RI

COLUMBUS THEATER

Sun, 7 Oct 2018

TROY

NY

THE HANGAR

Wed, 10 Oct 2018

BURLINGTON

VT

ARTSRIOT

Thu, 11 Oct 2018

PORTLAND

ME

ONE LONGFELLOW SQUARE

Fri, 12 Oct 2018

NORTHAMPTON

MA

IRON HORSE

Sat, 13 Oct 2018

FREEHOLD

NJ

CONCERTS IN THE STUDIO

Sun, 14 Oct 2018

BALTIMORE

MD

OTTOBAR

Wed, 17 Oct 2018

RICHMOND

VA

RICHMOND MUSIC HALL (AT CAPITAL ALE HOUSE)

Thu, 18 Oct 2018

NORFOLK

VA

TOAST

Fri, 19 Oct 2018

CARRBORO

NC

CAT'S CRADLE BACK ROOM

Sat, 20 Oct 2018

CHARLOTTESVILLE

VA

THE SOUTHERN

Tue, 23 Oct 2018

DAVENPORT

IA

MOELLER MONDAYS AT RACCOON MOTEL

Wed, 24 Oct 2018

EVANSTON

IL

SPACE

Thu, 25 Oct 2018

LEXINGTON

KY

THE BURL

Sat, 27 Oct 2018

NASHVILLE

TN

HIGH WATT

Sat, 3 Nov 2018

SEATTLE

WA

CATHEDRALS