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Horse Feathers Returns To Bend 

Justin Ringle talks about the evolving band and its 'House With No Home' reissue

The beautiful and striking arrangements of Horse Feathers will hit home for a lot of Pacific Northwesterners, especially if you were living around Portland in the late 2000s. The musical project of Justin Ringle has changed members a few times over the years, but violinist Nathan Crockett has been with Ringle since almost the very beginning. Now rounding out the band are Luke Ydstie and Kati Claborn of The Hackles and Blind Pilot, along with Halli Anderson of River Whyless. The band comes to town for the first Horse Feathers show in Bend in over 10 years. Check out our Q&A with Ringle below.

click to enlarge Be ready for a string-heavy treat at the Horse Feathers show this Friday. - COURTESY OF THE BAND
  • Courtesy of the band
  • Be ready for a string-heavy treat at the Horse Feathers show this Friday.

Source Weekly: So the band is getting ready to start your fall tour in a couple of days. Are you excited to get on the road and hit some of these stops?

Justin Ringle: I am! It's gonna be nice! It's gonna be a tidy little Northwest thing. Nothing too crazy, just a couple of long drives.

SW: You and Nathan obviously have a long history of playing together, and now the band has Luke, Kati and Halli as well who are all from great bands and very talented. How long have you been working with them and what's it like getting on stage with this group?

JR: Let's see. Kinda since, off and on since probably like 2016 or 2017. I've been playing with them intermittently and locally but we really only started to hammer down on it in the last year. Mainly because the band I had been playing and touring with since 2016, that rhythm section, they live in Kentucky and once COVID came it kind of became an impractical possibility to play with them consistently. Kill Rock Stars reissued our record "House with No Home" and I switched to do all the touring this year with this ensemble which is a little bit more of an old school approach to the music for us. A little more string-heavy, no drums.

With every type of personnel change you always have to rearrange the music a bit but in general it was pretty seamless. Luckily Luke and Kati are our neighbors in Astoria. They live just right around the corner from us so it's kind of a community band in a sense.

SW: You mentioned the reissue of "House with No Home." What do you remember most about the time making that album around its initial release back in 2008?

JR: I had put out one record, "Words Are Dead," with a local label and had gotten a lot of great press with that record and had just done our first national tour. But with "House With No Home" we signed to Kill Rock Stars and it was the first time we really, really, jumped out there. I just remember how big everything felt and how scary. It kind of plucked me out of my situation into playing really professionally. Prior to that I had been working odd jobs and really scraping. Once that came out I just started to tour really consistently. That year, 2008, was really musically rich. And in Portland the scene was really vibrant. This is going to make me sound super old, but in 2008 we were still worrying about moving units of CDs. It was a completely different galaxy in many ways.

SW: I really enjoy the "Curs In The Weeds" reprise off the reissue. Was that a new version or something you had been working on before?

JR: It's funny. For the people who followed the band, I played that song at pretty much every show since it got written, right? And as time has gone on it has always been kind of changed and refined. It was kind of interesting to capture that song in the way that particular band was playing it live at the time. The interesting thing is I recorded that with the band I was playing with from Kentucky, and I recorded part of it in Kentucky. But I included everyone in the new group and recorded all these different session parts on it. So it really is indicative of my entire musical life over the last five years.

SW: Then you have the two live cuts, "Working Poor" and "Fathers." What made you want to get those on the reissue?

JR: It was kind of a serendipitous thing. We did our first European tour. The violinist at the time, Peter Broderick, moved to Europe and so he actually got to do part of the tour with us and we got to do that studio session in Belgium. I finished the record not too many months before so those versions of those songs were very pure. They're kind of a weird relic because they were so indicative and related to where we were at the time with that album. They're a weird oddity.

Horse Feathers w/ DRIFT
Fri., Oct. 7, 8pm
Volcanic Theatre Pub
70 SW Century Dr., Bend
$15 at

About The Author

Isaac Biehl

Isaac is living proof that "Iowa Nice" is actually a thing. A journalism graduate from Iowa State University, he regularly writes about music, the outdoors and the arts/culture scene. Isaac loves the Trail Blazers, backpacking and a good IPA. He plans to one day win Survivor. Your move, Jeff Probst...
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