Two to one. This was more or less the ratio of instruments to musicians on stage at Bowery Ballroom on Wednesday night. Amongst the two women and three men of headlining band Horse Feathers were two violins, a cello, a guitar, a mandolin, a tambourine, a keyboard, a drumset, a banjo, oh, and a saw. Even Matt Bauer, the solo act who opened the night, had both a banjo and a guitar at his disposal.
This litany of instruments, particularly the strings, imbues the melodic folk music of Horse Feathers with an orchestral quality. Poetic, poignant lyrics leak out from lead singer Justin Ringle and stretch across the languishing instrumentation underneath. The swelling violins, more chipper than brooding, instruct the cadence of the songs while guiding the mood towards a nostalgic sort of buoyancy.
The crowd seemed contentedly sedated throughout the night, their quiet attentiveness mirroring the focused composure of the musicians. After being lulled by the delicate banjo of Matt Bauer, the audience found their heartstrings pulled by North Carolina band Mount Moriah. Spritely singer Heather McEntire croons like the country stars of yore, her gently cascading vocals charged with vigor. The band’s songs, even the more upbeat ones, are tinged with heartbreak and a stirring indignation at having those hearts broken. Their sound was more subdued than in previous live performances, but no less alluring…
<< read the rest! >