Sunday, December 10, 2017

Lindsie Feathers

Grand Lodge - Garage Door

7 p.m. til 9 p.m.


All ages welcome

About Lindsie Feathers

Lindsie Feathers

For all intents and purposes, Lindsie entered the Chicago music scene in 2004, but her relationship with music began at age nine in the middle of Illinois cornfields, watching Loretta Lynn and Patsy Cline movies on her grandmother's VCR, being captivated by their voices, their outfits and their stories. Not long after, she encountered her first guitar.

"I stayed with my Uncle Jack [my mom's brother] for a few weeks in the summertime with his family, my cousins," she remembers. "One afternoon, he was sitting on the couch strumming his guitar. I recall hearing this magical sound float in the air, and I ran from my cousins room to seek what I was hearing. I went right up to him, put my body next to the instrument, and asked him about it. Even now I can feel how the first sound of those strings resonated within my body, like a magnet. I didn't know what it was, but I needed to be close to it."

That need informed the rest of her life. After meeting Cliff Balsamello -- owner of Medicine Man Recording Studio -- as a teenager, she began her first studio sessions, singing Balsamello's songs with no idea where it would lead. Not long after, she bought a guitar and asked him to show her three chords, figuring out the rest for herself. Learning a few of her favorite songs, and writing some of her own, she connected with Chicago singer/songwriter Gayle Ritt, and was asked to join Ritt onstage. After a series of open mic gigs, Feathers (with Ritt) opened for Vonda Shepard at House Of Blues Chicago.

"Big stage," she recalls. "I was hooked."

Quitting her day job with a trading company at 23, Feathers started working in bars and restaurants to make ends meet which allowed her to focus on her music. However, after a few years of recording demos with the likes of Chuck Gladfelter (Dovetail Joint/Ivory Wire), Joe Cassidy (Assassins/Butterfly Child), Preston Graves (Cupcakes) and Matt Walker (The Smashing Pumpkins/Morrissey), she was ready to take her creativity in another direction. Feathers left music (and Chicago) behind to study filmmaking at The Art Institute in Portland, graduating with high honors and having the documentary she produced, Not So Square, showcased on PBS's POV. After graduating, music entered back into her life, starting a band that gradually shifted from psychedelia to country, touring with Brush Prairie (a country band fronted by The Dandy Warhols' Zia McCabe). The band recorded an album in 2012, but parted ways before it could be released.

This might seem like a lot of information, but all of it is relevant to explain how a chance connection with delta blues guitarist Bob Shoemaker could lead to a 2 1/2-year process of rehearsing, writing and recording Feathers' full length album, Neon Renaissance. 

"The songs are about love, the life journey, slowing down, the planet and it's dwindling resources, liberating cultural belief systems and programming, being true to the self, connecting to our ancestors and family, releasing fear, making choices, and honoring our heroes," Feathers says. "Spreading your wings and trusting in the flight."

That may be an ambitious mission statement, but it's hard to argue with. Engineered and Mixed by Adam Selzer at Type Foundary (M. Ward, She & Him, The Minus 5) and Produced by Lindsie Feathers and Bob Shoemaker.  The album is supported by Decemberists pedal steel player Paul Brainard, Fabulous Thunderbirds drummer Jimi Bott, Jackstraw harmonica player David Lipkind, Fernando pianist Ralph Huntley, organist Mike Walker, and Belinda Underwood, Julia Schlippert and Feathers' mentor Gayle Ritt on backing vocals, the album is a confident, accomplished, remarkably complete work. 

"More to Love" opens the album harkening immediately back to Feathers' VHS roots, evoking classic Loretta Lynn with a decidedly modern twist. "Be Good To Me" is a rabble-rousing anti-fracking protest song, while "Swine" is a self-empowerment anthem--very different songs, yet equally effective. The lovely "On Our Way" is a gentle reassurance buoyed by Feathers' tasteful lead playing, while "Honey Bee" is a honky-tonk rave-up with Feathers' gentle vocal taking on a sly, winking quality, putting her choir of backing vocalists through their paces. "Horse Moon" features an unstoppable bass groove and pulsing behind Shoemaker's positively seductive slide guitar. The album's two bonus tracks are worthy inclusions as well, with "Fly Like A Bird" featuring nine-year-old protege Iris Coleman on vocals, leading the band through the song's serene, comforting nursery-rhyme cadence.

In the words of the Neon Renaissance creed, written to define the album: "Let us follow our dream, teach the earth, serve humanity. We seek to love; not hate. To Heal; not hurt. Let love prevail."