Friday, September 3, 2010

A homecoming shakedown with Blood Feathers

Posted By on Fri, Sep 3, 2010 at 10:38 AM

bloodfeathers2.jpg

Here's betting that you'll be bragging to your friends in the not-too-distant future about how you once saw the Blood Feathers in concert at the intimate White Water Tavern.

The Philly six-piece plays a brand of harmony-drenched boogie that's oh, so, au courant. But in a timeless sort of way. There are three guitars, a bass guitar, drums, keys and a saxophone. And regular four-part harmonies. With hints of blues, pysch rock, R&B, rockabilly and Western swing, it's a sound that's bound to affect even the wall-huggers.

"It'll be a dance party for certain," co-lead singer/guitarist Ben Dickey said last week by phone. He and his mates were just outside of Asheville, en route to Chattanooga in a 1975 GMC RV ("just like the one in 'Stripes' "), to play the fourth gig of their two-week tour through the Southeast and Chicago. "We're bombastic. Everyone will feel like their pants are on fire."

That's a promise a generation of Little Rock music fans are likely to take seriously. Back in the mid-'90s, Dickey was a central figure in the city's punk/DIY scene. He played in a series of kinetic bands: Class of 84 (briefly), Dropout, Hiram Ragon Experience and, most notably, Shake Ray Turbine, a math-rock-y four-piece that spent time near or on top of the local music heap in the late-'90s before members moved to Philadelphia, where Dickey's been, on and off, ever since.

Soon after the band relocated to Philly, it changed its name to The Unfixers. When it dissolved, Dickey formed Amen Booze Rooster, a rollicking folk-punk trio that Dickey brought to White Water in 2003, the last time he's played Little Rock. When Amen Booze Rooster ended, Dickey took up with Drew Mills, a Philadelphia singer/songwriter (Aspera) he'd collaborated with since the late '90s. Along with Mickey Walker and Quentin Stoltzfus (both of the Philly band Mazari), Dickey and Mills formed Blood Feathers and cut its debut, "Curse and Praise," in 2006. It was well received, but Dickey said the band always envisioned a bigger version.

In 2007, Dickey and Mills planned to escape Philadelphia to regroup in Prescott, Ariz. Dickey moved, but circumstances changed for Mills. No matter. Dickey found a new band: A Bob Wills cover act that toured the senior center circuit called The Prescott Playboys. He was the youngest member by 38 years. The fiddle player in the band was 92.

"I knew who Bob Wills was, but I didn't know many of his songs. I auditioned maybe 10 songs, and they asked me to join. The first show we played, we did 50 songs. I had no clue. Some of the structures I understood, but some of them were like a different language. It was a wonderful experience."

When Dickey returned to Philly, the band expanded its ranks, adding Patrick Marsceill, Tracy Stanton (Bardo Pond, Matt Pond PA) and Little Rock's Sam Murphy (a local music hero in his own right for his work in Class of 84 and, especially, Chinese Girls). The expanded incarnation of Blood Feathers cut a sophomore album, "Goodness Gracious," late last year that they're currently touring behind.

The album was released on Philebrity, a record label a Philly blogger and entertainment lawyer started. It's an arrangement not far removed from Shake Ray Turbine's deal with Little Rock-born File 13 Records — friends helping friends.

"We tried to do the whole shopping thing for the first record, and I didn't like it," Dickey said. "I missed the idea of my friends doing it and being responsible for the ground rules and the physicality of getting the process done. Everyone involved lives within 10 blocks of each other. The organization is, in some sense, scattered, and the money isn't there. The band is responsible for doing things it wouldn't be in a lot of situations. But I don't know, that seems like the way it should be."

Dickey said the band is upbeat about its prospects.

"We're on the road right now. We're making money to keep us moving. And we've got studio time to start cutting track for the third record."

Something else that won't hurt: In October, it's playing a handful of dates with The Walkmen and AA Bondy. And possibly returning to the road with The Walkmen in the spring.

Yet another reason to attend: Little Rock super group Greers Ferry — Isaac Alexander, Rob Bell, Joshua, Brad Williams, Zach Holland, John Crowley — offers sweet, sweet yacht rock in a rare performance in the opening slot.

Blood Feathers with Greers Ferry

10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 4

White Water Tavern, $5.

Tags: , , ,

Favorite

Speaking of...

  • The return of Ben Dickey

    July 28, 2016
    The Little Rock native comes to White Water behind his excellent solo debut. /more/
  • Pop life

    May 28, 2015
    A double LP reissue highlights the cult classic Little Rock band Chinese Girls. /more/
  • New music from Blood Feathers, Rino El Camino, Charlie Virgo, Doc Casino and Mothwind

    October 1, 2014
    Alright, this band is based in Philly and also they broke up last year. There's no getting around that. But, and I don't think this is irrelevant, the band was mostly Little Rock people — e.g. Clay Simmons, Ben Dickey and Sam Murphy — and this album, their third, is only now getting released next week (Oct. 8) via Little Rock's own Max Recordings. Rest in peace, Blood Feathers, you made a great record. /more/
  • Lost Greers Ferry album, featuring members of The Easys, gets a release

    March 20, 2014
    It's a good week to be a fan of Isaac Alexander, the prolific local pop singer/songwriter. Yesterday, the self-titled debut by the Alexander-fronted Greers Ferry made its way to Bandcamp years after it was recorded and the band last performed live. On the same day, songs from another project, Molten Lava, were released. /more/
  • S for 'Seagulls'

    December 23, 2010
    A close second for our local song of the year, this effervescent single from Greers Ferry is the only song the new yacht-rock-geared local super group (featuring members of Big Silver, The Easys, The Good Fear and The Salty Dogs) released this year. /more/
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

More by Lindsey Millar

  • The Kickback Edition

    On the podcast: the federal investigation into kickbacks involving state legislators and the General Assembly, which convened this week before taking a long weekend to celebrate R.E. Lee and MLK Jr. Day.
    • Jan 13, 2017
  • The 91st Arkansas General Assembly: It's going to be a beast

    Some legislation to look for, and how to speak your mind.
    • Jan 12, 2017
  • Marijuana commission sets cultivation fee at $100,000

    The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Commission has decided  to set license fee (and annual renewal) for cultivation facilities at $100,000, Benji Hardy reports. The move was billed as a compromise, after commissioner Travis Story pushed for setting it at $185,000 and Carlos Ramon proposed $15,000.
    • Jan 3, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Staff Picks: Netflix and Chill, Benji's pasta fresca, Creedence Clearwater Revival and more

    The podcast Design Matters, published by Design Observer, is celebrating its 10th year and they are revisiting some of their best episodes from the last decade. I just finished this week's replay of the interview with the Scottish born illustrator Marion Deuchars. At the end of the wonderful interview, her two young sons are invited into the studio near where they pitch in some of their own thoughts on art and, in particular, drawing in the art books their mother created for children and adults.
    • Aug 28, 2015
  • Guest Mix: Rural War Room

    World wide weird duo Rural War Room (Donavan Suitt & Byron Werner) is celebrating 10 years of broadcasting and production here in Little Rock and abroad. RWR Radio on KABF 88.3 FM (10 p.m. Tuesdays or anytime on their website), features the duo alternating records in an effort to surprise one another.
    • Sep 14, 2015
  • Your new flags of Little Rock

    BRASHER: Hello Arkansans, this is the first piece from us, Brasher and Rowe and we are some dudes who work in downtown Little Rock and we eat lunch and just talk about all the exciting things around here.
    • Sep 18, 2015

Most Shared

  • UPDATE: Retired Arkansas Arts Center director Townsend Wolfe dies at 81

    Townsend Durant Wolfe, III, retired director and chief curator of the Arkansas Arts Center, has died at 81.
  • Legislation filed for $10 million school voucher program

    The legislation to vastly expand transfer of state tax dollars to private schools came before the school choice day event I mentioned earlier.
  • Pork and more

    Some notes on disparate topics before I take a vacation break.
  • Trumpeting

    When President-elect Trump announced he would, in a few days, force Congress to enact comprehensive health insurance for everyone, poor or rich, that would provide better and cheaper care than they've ever gotten, you had to wonder whether this guy is a miracle worker or a fool.
  • Putin and Trump

    Here's a thought exercise: What do you suppose would happen if Russian strongman Vladimir Putin decided to clarify remarks he reportedly made about Donald Trump during the election campaign?

Visit Arkansas

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

Jack Pearadin and Doug Nelsen found a 1.73-carat diamond after nearly a year of searching the park's field.

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation