Delta Rae – Tickets – 9:30 Club – Washington, DC – January 5th, 2013

Delta Rae

Delta Rae

The Wild Feathers, Jillette Johnson

Sat 1/5/13

7:00 pm

$15

Sold Out

Delta Rae - (Set time: 10:00 PM)
Delta Rae
It's been a good couple years for the relentlessly hard working six piece rock band from Durham, NC. Delta Rae’s debut album,Carry The Fire, came out to high praise last summer. They’ve been profiled everywhere from NPR to Time to Forbes and Rolling Stone proclaimed that "if Fleetwood Mac came up in North Carolina, they might resemble Delta Rae." VH1 hand selected them for their "You Oughta Know" Artist Of The Month program. They performed not once, but twice on both The Tonight Show w/ Jay Leno and Conan. Live is where Delta Rae truly flourish. They’ve sold out venues from coast to coast, opened for heroes like Lyle Lovett and even shared the stage with First Lady Michelle Obama, when they performed during a Democratic rally at UNC Chapel Hill. They played pretty much every festival under the sun, including Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits and Voodoo. Delta Rae just released a brand new EP, Chasing Twisters, that includes the blazing title track which Rolling Stone deemed “heroic” and “Run,” which iTunes hand picked as their Single Of The Week. Delta Rae are currently working on a brand new studio album, which will come out in early 2014.

The Wild Feathers - (Set time: 8:45 PM)
The Wild Feathers


Long before it got broken up into a million sub-genres, rock & roll was just rock & roll. Pure, true, organic. Six strings, booming harmonies and the call of the open road. It’s a singularly American tradition that Nashville’s The Wild Feathers are full-force dedicated to not only preserving but also – more importantly - evolving. Their sound melds the five unique voices of Ricky Young, Joel King, Taylor Burns and Preston Wimberly, and Ben Dumas, taking inspiration from across the musical spectrum – country, blues, folk and rock – and spinning it into a roaring web of warm, cosmic melodies with vintage roots and modern tones. The Wild Feathers are a rock band that feels impossibly fresh with the air of having been here all along.
Ricky, Joel, Taylor and Preston were all lead singers before they came together as The Wild Feathers, fronting their own bands and writing songs with their own distinct sounds. All hailing from Texas with the exception of Joel (Oklahoma), each member grew up with a deep sense of southern musical traditions, while at the same time being raised on records like Led Zeppelin, Neil Young and Tom Petty. As kids, their moms played them the Rolling Stones instead of lullabies, literally and figuratively rocking them to sleep.
Eventually Ricky and Joel both migrated to Nashville, where they connected in 2010. Occasionally, they’d get together to write music and play: Stones songs, riffs they’d written, ideas here and there. “Ricky and I wanted to do something with a bunch of singers, not just one lead,” Joel says. Their vision was of a group where each member is as indispensible as the next; a solid set of four, not just a front man backed by session players. Of course, finding the proper matches for something like this is no easy task. With strong voices can come stronger egos – just the thing to rip a fledgling band apart. Somehow, The Wild Feathers found their missing pieces, leading them to become what Joel calls a “four-headed monster,” not four separate monsters, butting heads.
Mutual friends suggested a man by the name of Taylor Burns with a strong electric-guitar rip and bluesy growl. He seemed the perfect thing to complement Ricky’s smooth, folk tone and Joel’s rock & roll bellow. Next came Preston Wimberly, who rounded out the loose, bright harmonies and added an occasional country twang through some masterful pedal steel. The four gathered to play music in Austin, and it clicked nearly instantly. Instead of a battle of wills, it was effortless. The Wild Feathers was born that day. “It was a match made in heaven,” says Joel. “Or hell,” he adds with a smirk.
“I wanted to do something greater than I could on my own,” Ricky says, but every member of the band could easily echo the same sentiment. “To create something bigger than any one of us individually, and write great songs that last the test of time.” While some of their influences come from deep in the 60’s and 70’s, they’re still thoroughly modern, fusing and evolving their pedal steel and Laurel Canyon harmonies rather than regurgitating and repackaging what’s already in existence. So it’s no surprise that they’re more likely to simply call themselves American than Americana. “We like folk music, but we’re going to have a distortion pedal on when we do it,” laughs Preston.
For their 2013 debut, The Wild Feathers, the band enlisted Jay Joyce (Cage the Elephant, the Wallflowers, Emmylou Harris) as producer, who encouraged the band to tap into their innate sense of harmony and true rock & roll sound. Their days in his Nashville studio were full and tiring (“like we’d been waterskiing and drinking beer in the sun all day,” says Ricky, “but so inspiring”), recording most tracks live, one at a time. “It was kind of like the old days with Elvis at RCA,” says Joel, “recording one song per day, really living in each one.”
The resulting record is a display of four unique talents effortlessly unified: bluesy, hard rock tunes like “Backwoods Company” live effortlessly next to harmonic stunners like “Hard Wind” and slow, folky love songs like “Tall Boots.” “When Rick Danko (of The Band) would sing harmonies, it was like he was singing lead,” says Ricky. “That’s what we try to do.” And it shows. Songs like “Left My Woman,” allow Ricky, Joel and Taylor to sing a few solo bars each in the opening, before joining with Preston on the chorus. Visually, they are united, too – playing shows standing in a line straight across the stage, as one.
“We make songs that I could never write on my own,” says Ricky, “even if I worked from now until I die. But with these guys and what they bring, it’s easy.” Adds Taylor, “we’re making something better than we could have ever done by ourselves.” What they make is modern rock & roll, laced with nostalgia, built for the new millennium. What they are is The Wild Feathers.
Jillette Johnson - (Set time: 8:00 PM)
On August 14th singer-songwriter Jillette Johnson releases the smoldering and passionate debut EP Whiskey & Frosting (Wind-up Records). It's an intimate and boldly emotional five-song collection of stately pop from a unique and unflinchingly honest artist. Johnson's commitment to her distinct vision is thorough and uncompromising, from her willingness to explore the raw and controversial in her ly
rics, to her unwillingness to give into tempting hot ticket-career opportunities. Johnson audaciously declined a high-exposure spot on the television talent show The Voice to keep her creative autonomy.

"I realized those paths would be inauthentic to me. I know how to write my own music, and I want a say in my career," Johnson explains.

Whiskey & Frosting is one of those rare and revelatory debuts where you experience a young songwriter with a highly mature sense of artistic self. The NYC-based singer-piano player wrote all the songs on the EP, and her upcoming album. The piano-based songs unfold with honeyed drama and grandeur, showcasing Johnson's soaring vocals which manage to both be comforting and spiritually rousing.

"Two of my favorite things are whiskey and frosting," Johnson says laughing. "The title came directly from an impromptu birthday party with friends where I ate the frosting off cupcakes and drank whiskey. I was telling my producers about the night when I realized how similar those two things were to my writing style. I don't write happy songs without some melancholy feelings in there. I like to paint an entire emotional picture. There is depth, sorrow, and overly sweet tones. Many of the songs are about living as a young person in New York City, living irresponsibly and exploring consequences."

The bravely vulnerable "Cameron" explores the struggle of a transgendered person and transpires a universal anthem for staying true to oneself. Johnson sings: Cameron's in drag, makes his father mad / Since he was a little boy / He always felt more comfortable in lipstick / These days the world is full of aliens / The world is full of aliens, but you are a human / You're not an alien / You are a real live human / Aren't you, Cameron? At its fundamental core, "Cameron" is about making tough choices to be authentic; a definite thematic thread in Johnson's life.
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"I didn't know I was going to write about a transgendered boy, the words just came out and I thought, 'Oh, this is about someone trying be someone they don't appear to be,'" she reveals. "There is a sensation I get when I want to create. I have energy coursing through my veins, and I just let my hands fall and run with it. I don't always know the initial reference point, but then I go back and make sense of what I'm saying. It's pure subconscious inspiration and relentless editing. 'Cameron' ended up being inspired by a transgendered kid I'm close with, but the song also captures the need to feel at home in your own skin."

Jillette Johnson got signed to Wind-up on the strength of "Cameron." "That song was a turning point. Talent makes people notice you, but songs bring people to action," she figures. Inking a deal was the culmination of many years of steadfast pursuit of her ideals and her dream to be a professional musician. "I was convinced by the age of 4 I was going to be a rock star," she says with a smile. At 6 Johnson began taking piano lessons, and by 8 she was writing her own songs. Her formative influences were the Les Misérables Soundtrack and artists such as Joni Mitchell, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Carole King, and Sarah McLachlan. "I learned song structure from those beautifully articulate songwriters. Joni said so much with quirky lyrics, Carole had a way of simplifying—those two parallels formed me as a lyricist."

At 18 she left her small town of Pound Ridge, New York, population 4,000, to move to NYC's vibrantly creative Loho neighborhood. From 12-18 she had been making migratory visits to soak up the city's buzzing inspiration, but her move cemented a creative relationship between her youth, the city, and her soulful compositions.

The EP also features highlights like the elegant and stirring "When The Ship Goes Down," and the buoyant and heartfelt "Torpedo." "Pauvre Coeur" juxtaposes gorgeously spare classical-flavored piano against bluntly confessional lyrics about a dried up romantic relationship. It's one of the most arresting moments on the EP. Here Johnson sings: If I recall it was a Friday / Gentle hum before the war / You were high and watching poker / And I had just walked in the door / You started screaming at the TV / Saying, make a play you filthy whore / And I was trying to make you see me / Like the way you did before.

"I wrote that from a perspective of strength. I haven't been in a lot of relationships—the longest has been my music career. Music comes first, anything that got in the way suffered. This was about my first serious adult relationship. It became emotionally abusive as it reached the end, and I lost myself. When I rediscovered myself, I found the strength to leave," she reveals.

The EP and the upcoming album, were produced by Peter Zizzo, widely respected for developing Vanessa Carlton and Avril Lavigne, and Michael Mangini, esteemed for his work with Joss Stone, Bruce Hornsby, and David Byrne. The duo's innate understanding of Johnson's singular vision, and respect for her fully-formed compositions helped them enhance the power and dynamics of the music. "They maintained the spirit of the songs—they still are a 100% my songs—they're just turned way up on the amp," she says.

Reflectively, Jillette Johnson says: "I have a specific point of view and I follow my instincts. My sensibility has been in tune with my emotions. I'm always honest with what I feel. I'm passionate with my songs to a fault."
Venue Information:
9:30 Club
815 V St. NW
Washington, DC, 20001
http://930.com