Pin It
Favorite

The Wayback Machine 

Horse Feathers goes back to the future, forward to the past

click to enlarge art14303.jpg

 

My apologies, Mr. Vonnegut: Portland’s Justin Ringle has come unstuck in time.

With one foot planted in the roots of American folk music and the other poking around in its future, Ringle straddles the line with his band, Horse Feathers — a band with both anachronistic and modern musical sensibilities.

Of course, calling it “folk” is the first problem, Ringle says: “My music is not truly folk music. It can’t be unless it has some kind of tradition, some kind of historical reference point. It’s really pop music with folk instrumentation, folk motifs.”

Rooted neither in the past or the present, Horse Feathers is a strange artifact, spinning free from the restraints of linear time.

“The immediacy of folk music is so

powerful — people can pick up a guitar and play almost anywhere in the world. I love the aesthetic of acoustic instrumentation, the nostalgic element that’s inherent in it. When you play music, you have the ability to break the mold of time,” Ringle says.

His band’s music is ethereal, quiet and haunting — music that wouldn’t have sounded out of place 60 years ago in a Kansas dustbowl. But Ringle is quick to warn against recreating the sounds of the past, saying that bands that do are “only indebted to the past … They’re stuck in time. I am cherry-picking the emotional capacity of the style or the intimacy inherent in these instruments. But I do want it to sound like it’s my own.”

But can a revivalist with an old sound have a place in modern music?

Ringle considers his outlook, his views both past and future to be his calling card, a postmodern embracing of the past as both something to be treasured and to be altered, saying, “There’s so much more room to be original by being backwards-looking than by trying to make something new in a progressive way.

“I would love to witness a Delta blues player playing on his porch or see a bluegrass band somewhere in the Appalachians in 1950. But I am also rooted in the present. There’s no way I could make a living doing what I do now back then.”

Necessary pragmatism. So it goes.

Horse Feathers plays with Hey is for Horses at the Empyrean on Monday, Nov. 9, at 7 pm. Tickets: $5. All-ages. Call 838-9819.

Tags:

  • Pin It

Latest in Music

  • Grown-Ups
  • Grown-Ups

    The Nixon Rodeo continues to gain fans and write more music, but they have no grand illusions regarding their local act
    • Jan 18, 2017
  • Sunny Disposition
  • Sunny Disposition

    Seattle trio Duke Evers' new album is surprisingly full of bright pop-rock
    • Jan 18, 2017
  • Rock the Power
  • Rock the Power

    What the changing political and social climate means for local musicians
    • Jan 12, 2017
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed
Summer in Siberia, Rex Vox, Razzmatzz

Summer in Siberia, Rex Vox, Razzmatzz @ Mootsy's

Fri., Jan. 20, 9 p.m.

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Jeff Echert

  • Emerald Queen
  • Emerald Queen

    The prodigal daughter of the Pacific Northwest comes home again.
    • Jun 29, 2011
  • 'Deerhoof Vs. Evil,' Deerhoof
  • 'Deerhoof Vs. Evil,' Deerhoof

    The working man’s rock music has always been defined by artists like Bruce Springsteen who sing about the 9-to-5ers. But there’s something to be said for Tapes ‘n Tapes, a band workman-like in the way it consistently churns out solid tunes. If there’s such a thing as a bad Tapes ‘n Tapes song, it’s yet to be released.
    • Feb 9, 2011
  • 'Cardinals III / IV,' Ryan Adams
  • 'Cardinals III / IV,' Ryan Adams

    If you're not a Ryan Adams superfan, pass on this album.
    • Jan 12, 2011
  • More »

Most Commented On

Top Tags in
Music & Film

Review


Film


Music


Readers also liked…

  • All Access
  • All Access

    George Lathrop makes sure the big Spokane shows and concerts run smoothly
    • Jul 1, 2015
  • One Big Treat
  • One Big Treat

    Hail the power-pop excellence that is Cheap Trick
    • Sep 9, 2015

© 2017 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation