The Wild Feathers Share Highs and Lows of Life ‘Out on the Road’ in New Song [Exclusive Premiere]
The Wild Feathers' "Out on the Road" — a brand-new song premiering exclusively via The Boot — is a shuffling, blues-tinged look at tour life. It's ironic, then, that band member Taylor Burns penned the "all autobiographical" song while holed up at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I think it was me missing those times, and getting a chance to reflect on everything we've done and kind of how, you know, the grass is always greener," Burns says, calling, fittingly, from the band's tour van while headed to a show in St. Louis, Mo. "When you're on the road, you just want to get home, see the family and see my bed for a little bit. And then when you just have nothing to do for a year, 18 months, it was like, 'God, get me back out on that highway.'"
That's not to say that road life is always perfect, or that "Out on the Road" paints it as such. In fact, it tells of countless truck stops and city-limit signs, less-than-optimal accommodations, relationships that fall apart because of the time away, only being able to see your friends because you put them on the guest list at a show and being "flat broke" with "some drink tickets / And one hot meal" to your name. The melody may be upbeat and grooving, but the lyrics are more pessimistic.
"You take the good with the bad out here," Burns says, "but it's one of those things that, like, you can complain about all the stuff — the s--tty truck stop food and the lack of sleep and, you know, 'When am I going to get a shower?' — but then, when it's all taken away from me ... I miss the smelly van; I miss, you know, showering at a truck stop and the late nights, and just all of it."
That rosy view has stayed with Burns and his bandmates — Ben Dumas, Joel King, Brett Moore and Ricky Young — as they're resumed touring recently. "We're all just happy to be back at it again," he says.
The Wild Feathers celebrated a decade as a band in 2020, during which they released a retrospective project, Medium Rarities. That makes their next album, Alvarado, on which "Out on the Road" appears, their first since hitting that 10-years-together mark.
"If you would have told me 10 years ago that I'd be in this band for 10 years, I wouldn't believe you," Burns admits. "For us to love each other and still want to do this, I think it's a beautiful thing."
Alvarado is a particularly special project for the Wild Feathers, as it's their first fully self-produced album. "We didn't overthink it, and I think that's the beauty of this record: It's not overproduced or over-thought. It's just an honest record from us, sitting in a room, making music together, like we were born to do," Burns says.
Together with two close friends, Marshall Schoening and Austin Schroeder, who assisted with the technical parts of the recording process, the Wild Feathers retreated to an AirBnb in VanLeer, Tenn., in December of 2020. It was one of their first chances to be together during the pandemic, and they recorded 14 songs across four days.
"It just made us feel like how we always feel when we're together rehearsing or something; it felt like the pressure was off ... It just felt comfortable," says Burns, recalling how the rented cabin was decked out for Christmas and "felt very home-y, very relaxed.
"I can't describe the feeling, but it was just like, all kinds of doubts are running through your head during the pandemic: Is this industry viable? Are we going to be able to keep doing what we love?" Burns says. "And then, when you get in the room together and start making music, [it felt like] 'We love this; we miss this.'
"You forget," he adds, "how much you need it in your life to make you whole as a human being."
Alvarado is due out on Friday (Oct. 8). It's available to pre-save and pre-order now.
50 Country Albums Everyone Must Hear Before They Die: