Horses of a feather flock together

Horse Feathers return to Lexington to perform at Soulful Space with Daisy Helmuth on Thursday, Oct. 20.

For over a decade, Portland, Oregon’s Horse Feathers have stampeded around the country performing their unique blend of intimate indie folk. This Thursday the ensemble ventures into the confines of Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, also known as Soulful Space for a one-of-a-kind show.

Horse Feather’s roster consists of Justin Ringle on guitar, Nathan Crockett on violin, mandolin and saw, Dustin Dybvig on drums and piano, Brad Parsons on guitar and mandolin, and Mayhaw Hoons on bass. 

In recent months the group has also brought Robby Cosenza and J. Tom Hnatow of various Lexington-area projects including Vandaveer into the fray. Ringle toured with Hnatow and Cosenza in the past with the group These United States.

The group has undergone many a transformation in its 12 year history, with one of the biggest occurring in 2012 after the release of Horse Feather’s fifth record “Cynic’s New Year” when Ringle contemplated giving up music altogether.

“I was pretty wiped out from touring, and I just needed to take a long, hard look at not doing (music) anymore,” Ringle said. “That’s what led to the transformation in styles, because I realized that the kind of dark music that was very earnest and real that I performed constantly on tour was becoming a drag. I was proud of the material on record, but talking to fans after the show who said my music helped them get through their divorce or their father’s death was beginning to wear on me.”

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In the time since, Ringle and company have released one additional record titled “So It Is With Us.” which celebrates its two-year anniversary this Friday, Oct. 21. According to Ringle, the reinvented incarnation of Horse Feathers features a more upbeat sound and have begun playing in front of rowdier audiences compared to past shows that he described as taking place in a “listening room” setting.

“Usually our records have a bit more texture to them than the live show, which is more stripped-down and visceral in nature, more direct,” Ringle said. “Our recordings are a bit more cerebral and our live shows are more about the impact of the performance than the nuance of the arrangements.”

While in the Bluegrass, Ringle plans to trek to Louisville to begin recording another project at La La Land, adding that he’ll likely return to Lexington to complete some of the work due to his extensive music connections in the city. 

When Ringle isn’t navigating back roads through small-town America on tour the artist resides in Astoria, OR, a coastal town two hours west of Portland, and Asheville, NC, where he’s currently helping the band River Whyless produce a new record. Throughout his years performing, Ringle has learned to take nothing for granted, and is extremely grateful for the longevity of Horse Feathers.

“There’s some kind of perseverance that I’ve adopted that the music has brought out in me,” Ringle said. “It gets weird when you’ve been a band for so long where one of your peers may make it big, but most others are with different groups or out of music altogether. To see all those changes but still be in the same band myself just blows my mind.”


What: Horse Feathers and Daisy Helmuth

When: Thursday, Oct. 20 at 7 p.m.

Where: Soulful Space – 533 E Main St.

Tickets: $12 online, $15 at the door