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Wild Feathers unruffles its rarities

The Wild Feathers will perform Friday at the Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre with Blackberry Smoke, and release the album "Medium Rarities on Nov. 20. (Submitted photo)

A lot of folks used the COVID-19 shutdown to do a little housecleaning.

The band Wild Feathers cleaned out its music hard drives.

Slated for release Nov. 20 is “Medium Rarities,” a collection of covers, rarities and musical odds and ends that didn’t make the cut for the band’s previous three studio albums.

“We were all losing our minds,” singer and guitar player Ricky Young said. “What can we do to put out something fresh, keep people’s interest and just for our own sanity?”

Joel King started going through the band’s old hard drives and found an array of unreleased songs.

“Put together, they sound pretty great,” Young said. “Just because they didn’t make it on an actual studio album didn’t mean they weren’t up to par or good enough. Some songs tended to be in the same vein, maybe tempos were too similar or had the same feel. (We picked) what made the most sense for the record, and we can use this down the road, which is what we ended up doing.”

The band — Young, King, Taylor Burns, Ben Dumas and Brett Moore — also went back to its roots, including covers of David Crosby’s “Almost Cut My Hair” and The Jayhawks’ “Blue” that were recorded with producer Dave Cobb to show off their vocal harmonies when the band started looking for a record deal.

“That was recorded nine, 10 years ago at Sound City in Los Angeles, before Dave Grohl bought the console (and made the documentary ‘Sound City’),” Young said.

The lead single “Fire” is one of three new songs the band members recorded and produced themselves for the album.

“This is something new but also closing a chapter,” Young said. “A lot of time on a best-of, bands will put a new song on there as a little incentive or whatever. We’re really happy with it. I listened to it yesterday for the first time in a couple months, and it sounds like a great record.”

Right now the plan is to start recording a proper fourth album in December.

The Wild Feathers was supposed to spend last summer playing outdoor venues with Blackberry Smoke. Instead, the band has played a couple scattered dates with Blackberry Smoke, including Friday’s concert at Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre, and the original tour has been moved to 2021. Young isn’t sure what things will be like next summer, when many acts will be trying to play more gigs than usual to make up for a lost year of touring.

“We like to work, and we want to work,” he said. “It’s going to be financially difficult, but I also think music fans are going to be champing at the bit to go see live music … I think they’re going to go see more shows, definitely more than they did this year, but even more than before. I think it will average itself out, but it will take some time.

“We’re just super-excited. Lord knows our wives are excited to get us out of the house.”

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WHO: Blackberry Smoke and the Wild Feathers

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Friday

WHERE: Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre, 229 E. Front St., Youngstown

HOW MUCH: $39.50 and $13.

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