Horse Feathers is the kind of richly talented, unassuming group that renews my faith in the ability of music to fill the sails, simply and with surprising strength.
After a planned meeting in Toronto was thwarted by unexpected congestion on the 401, Justin and I arranged for a meeting in Brooklyn near Union Hall on a day that teases with continual sun showers. Prospect Park is an obvious choice for an adventure and serves as a meaningful bridge between the Parisian and New York City cultures as John H. Duncan’s Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial Arch, seen framing the distant Empire State Building in nearby Manhattan, bears a direct reference to Paris’s own Arc de Triomphe.
Their performance of Spring Thistle draws new friends, a fellow cellist for Catherine and an zealous Abba enthusiast for Justin, while paying tribute to the blossoming season around us.
We move further into the park to avoid the din of the Eastern Parkway and settle into an alcove of moist forest debris continually threatening to swallow Catherine’s cello and send Nathan’s hygrometer spinning. A cymbal is tied carefully to a piece of bark laid against a tree and Sam’s 1940’s era traveling case contributes its trebly hollow body as a floor tom. The resulting combination is apt and beautiful.
We pack up, leave our peaceful refuge and close the session at the base of some Cosby steps in Flatbush, all the while wondering if Theo Huxtable is finding any temporary relief from one of his frequent groundings by way of the full and stirring sounds of the band.
We part ways, and I am left full of melodies, contributors I am sure to the now-clear sky overhead.
Text by Derrick Belcham