Meet Taylor from the Wild Feathers
The Wild Feathers in the midst of a weekend-long SXSW appearance, are gearing up to kick off their new U.S. tour in support of their sophomore album "Lonely is a Lifetime." Guitar player, vocalist, and Dallas-native, Taylor Burns took time out of the band's busy schedule to talk with Crate Diggers Dallas about the new album, song-writing, and his eclectic vinyl collection.
Crate Diggers: Where are you from and how did everyone meet?
Taylor: I grew up in Richardson, north Dallas area, went to Richardson High School, and then moved to Austin after High School. Ricky and Joel were living in Nashville, but they were hanging out in Austin—I think it was actually SXSW. We had a mutual friend that played bass in my band and he used to hang with them Nashville. We just started hanging out randomly when they were in town, and that's when we realized we were all songwriters. We started playing around with some acoustic guitars and writing some songs pretty much right off the bat. We just sort of blossomed from there.
Crate Diggers: As you might be able to tell from our name, we are also vinyl enthusiasts. So we always ask—do you collect vinyl? If so, what’s the first album on vinyl you remember purchasing for yourself?
Taylor: I do man, I probably have 200-300 records. I inherited a lot from my granddad and grandmother from different parents, and they had the most amazing record collection. A lot of old soul and jazz—Bo Diddley and stuff like that. I always like the physical aspect of opening up a record, being able to look at the liner notes, and you know, just feel it, and then put it on when the needle hits the groove. It's something special that I think a lot of people, especially this young generation, just they don't get. Not to sound like I am the old guy, but I just believe it's a special connection with the music that I don't get when I listen to an MP3.
Crate Diggers: I agree, I think the more digital we become in all facets in our life, the more there is a desiree to have something tangible in front of you. I think that's probably why so many artists nowadays at their concert merch tables are carrying vinyl and even cassettes over CD’s.
Taylor: I know it's crazy. CD’s are almost a thing of the past. Pretty much every new record I buy, I buy on vinyl and get the digital download card. I'm kind of glad there has been a resurgence from artists wanting to put out vinyl. All these people like me who grew up listening to their dad’s records...it's just a cool thing to see our own record on vinyl.
Crate Diggers: Since you inherited a lot of your records, what was the first album you remember buying for yourself?
Taylor: I know it wasn’t the first one, but this just came to mind: “All Things Must Pass” by George Harrison. I got it at a Nashville flea market for about $15. Still to this day its one of my top 5 favorite records in my collection. I just found out that Peter Frampton played on that “All Things Must Pass.” He played acoustic guitar when he was 19 years old.
Crate Diggers: Now that you are about to embark on a tour, do you have record shops in certain cities that you try and check out while in town?
Taylor: Yea, always Waterloo in Austin, Bill’s Records and Tapes in Dallas is one of my go-to’s. It used to be in Richardson, so I always went there as a kid. There’s one in Boise, Idaho that I can’t remember the name of right now that's really cool—The Record Exchange maybe? We pretty much try and check one out in every city, any chance we get. But those are the 3 that I know by name.
Crate Diggers: Do you bring a turntable on the road?
Taylor: We have before, but we didn't right now since it’s really crowded with our crew. Normally we bring, even though they suck, one of those little Crosley briefcase ones. I know we did that for the Willie tour, but now we have so much stuff that we didn't bring any. I brought my little vinyl carrying case just in case I buy any on the road so I can keep them safe.
Crate Diggers: Since you are down at SXSW right now will you be checking out any shows? Are there any bands you are excited to see?
Taylor: Yea man, we were just talking about that. I think were going to see Ryan Adams tonight. He is playing with the Avett Brothers, so that would be really cool. We played with Willie on Sunday so we got to see him play. You know it's so crazy down here, we have so many shows you just kinda go with the flow. It's hard to plan too much since it's pretty much organized chaos.
Crate Diggers: What does it mean to you to start this tour in front of your hometown crowd?
Taylor: Man, I love it. I have a special connection with Texas. I was never a proud Texan guy until I moved away, and I realized how much it means to me. It's just a special place where I run into so many displaced Texans all over the country, and we all have an immediate bond. It’s also a good place to start off a tour. We haven’t worked out all of the kinks of the tour yet, so it's nice to open to a familiar crowd and in front of friends and family. But the guest list situation always gets crazy. It's like god damn, I have 20 people trying to get on the guest list. So there's also something about playing in a place like Portland where you don’t know a soul and I can just play the show, be me, and hang out.
Crate Diggers: So the new album is called “Lonely is a Lifetime,” what's the story behind the name of the album?
Taylor: It's the title track we wrote in Joshua Tree. We stayed in the room Gram Parsons died in—it was like the night of his birthday or something. This was a couple years ago, but we wrote that song in about 15 minutes and we just liked the way it sounded. Though some of the songs are not all downers, it just has this longing for home. We wrote it mostly on the road this last year, so it has this desolate, a lot of space, longing for home feel—so it felt like it fit the theme for this record.
Crate Diggers: Do you have a favorite song to perform from the new album?
Taylor: I really like to play “Happy Again,” that one's always fun to play. “Don’t Ask Me To Change” is another favorite. To be honest they are all fun to play right now. Just playing new songs and not playing the old ones we played for 3 years—any of them are good you know what I mean?
Crate Diggers: How does the songwriting work out since you don't have a true lead singer and everyone sings? Does one person write a song and you split up the lyrics or how does that work?
Taylor: It takes all shapes and forms. Going through the process, sometimes we write them by ourselves. Every once in awhile we'll be together and someone will have a half idea just to make them a "Wild Feathers" song, we need to have some harmonies or different parts, so it just depends where we write them and if we're together. If we're together, we're all trying to start filling in ideas like, “Hey, you need to sing this on the bridge.” But normally whichever part someone is singing is the part they lyrically wrote.
Crate Diggers: Your harmonies I feel are a throwback to the 70’s rock bands like the Eagles or the Doobie Brothers. Do you have artists or bands that inspire you guys in terms of direction you want to go musically?
Taylor: You know I think initially. The Eagles harmonies are way more pure than ours. I think we're a little bit closer to The Band, Levon Helm, and Richard Manuel, just because when they sing harmonies it's like with character—you know what I mean? It’s not perfectly blended. You can hear when Rick Danko sings a harmony, it still sounds like him. So I think that's initially what we went for, not saying we sounded like The Band, but just the character in the harmonies. That was our goal to have multiple singers that all have a unique style.
Crate Diggers: Last question, since you are about to kick off on a new tour. If you could go on tour with any artist/band living or dead who would it be?
Taylor: The Beatles, hands down. I think they created the modern version of what bands do, writing and recording their own songs. Before them, songwriters would write their song and go into the studio, while some band would perform them, but the Beatles changed the game. And still their records are the bar that everyone is trying to live up to, as far as recording techniques and just the amazing songwriting. I mean, they made all those albums in 7 years—they are fucking masterpieces, it's crazy.