Live Reviews

Horse Feathers Live in Pullman

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Someone once told me music is a spiritual experience; to listen to it is to allow ourselves to become a part of something intricately beautiful, difficult, and communal. Indeed there is something irrevocably spiritual about the music of Horse Feathers; a depth and lushness in their simple tone and candor that lifts us into a place of rumination.

Seeing them play live last week swept me into such a place allowing for the coziest of winter evenings. What struck me most about this show wasn’t that I was finally listening to Horse Feathers live (oh joy of joy!) but rather how attentively silent we as an audience were during their set.

Before the band took the stage (even during the opening acts) the room was swarmed with a nervous energy. The moment they started playing, however, we were all carried together into stillness. The venue itself, an old church newly converted into a performance space, was made for Justin Ringle’s wavering vocals and begs for the subtle strength of the group’s instrumental work. Everything about their performance settled in nicely with the bitter winter winds. Their lyrical themes of broken joy and heartache seeped like honey into one’s bones, somehow exuding an infectious anchor of hope.

I feel like that’s the beauty of Horse Feathers music, their ability to sing us through the reckoning while still maintaining a breath of light. Regardless of their heavy-laden temporal themes, or whether we’re listening to them live or through our iPods, record players or computers, their music allows us to be still, to be present. We recognize part of ourselves in their songs; our aches, hurts, strengths, and frailties. We listen to their music and we are reminded of the beauty in brokenness.

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Above photos by Adam Ward with Stereopathic Music.

Download: “Belly Of June” by Horse Feathers off Thistled Spring

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Download: “Thistled Spring” by Horse Feathers off Thistled Spring

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

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