The Wild Feathers Dig Up Covers, Demos and B-sides on ‘Medium Rarities’ (ALBUM REVIEW)

If not for the global pandemic, The Wild Feathers likely would have never put out Medium Rarities – a mix of covers, demos, B-sides and a handful of new songs.

The band was set to embark on a major tour with Blackberry Smoke last spring, when COVID put the world into lockdown. Newly free from their label, they were just weeks away from hitting the road and working on the band’s latest chapter. Then the lockdowns started. Left with nothing but time on their hands, drummer Ben Dumas started listening to the music that had been collected on one of the band’s hard drives and realized they were sitting on a trove on unreleased music that needed to be freed. 

Medium Rarities opens up the possibility for future volumes,” said singer/guitarist Ricky Young recently.  “We thought it was a cool thing to do for ourselves, and especially for our fans. We’ve always been one of those bands that talks about having a true catalog, by every definition: live albums, box sets, double albums, B-sides, and rarities albums—being music fans, and that’s what we are, that’s what you want from artists you like. You want anything you can get your hands on. This is one more step we’ve accomplished.”

The album kicks off with a remarkable cover of The Jayhawks “Blue,” (produced by the much in demand Dave Cobb) one that almost rivals the original, followed quickly by “Heartbreak,” a phenomenal rocker that coulda been/shoulda been a Tom Petty song. Alongside The Jayhawks tune, the band covers “Almost Cut My Hair,” by Crosby Stills, Nash & Young and Bread’s “Guitar Man.” The CSNY tune is a solid, more rockin’ upgrade, but there’s not much you can do with a Bread tune. “Guitar Man” happens to be the low point of the record.

There’s a trio of new songs the band recorded during quarantine that take up the middle of the record, “Fire,” “Goodnight” and “My Truth,” all three mellow, but sweet tracks that fit nicely into the band’s growing catalogue. “My Truth” is the standout of the newer tracks, both lyrically and musically. 

The record closes with the delightfully boozy Americana rocker “After The Bottle’s Gone,” a fantastic singalong that rivals “Blue” and “Heartbreaker” as one of the best tracks on the record. Medium Rare is hardly a replacement for seeing the band live, but then again, it’s a pretty strong consolation prize.

Photo credit: Rachel Moore

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