Horse Feathers :: Lagniappe Sessions (Hardin / Springsteen)

Lagniappe (la ·gniappe) noun ‘lan-ˌyap,’ — 1. An extra or unexpected gift or benefit. 2. Something given or obtained as a gratuity or bonus.

Six years after its initial release Horse Feathers debut, Words Are Dead, remains one of my favorite folk LPs of the past decade. Tomorrow the Portland quintet release their fourth record,  Cynic’s New Year – again via their label home, Kill Rock Stars. Building on the bones of 2010’s Thistled Spring, the album possesses a richer palette incorporating new and varied arrangements, textures and instrumentation. Led by founder and principal songwriter/vocalist Justin Ringle,  Cynic’s – like all of Horse Feathers best work – is ultimately carried by the songwriting. As such, I was interested to see what artists and songs Ringle would choose for this week’s Lagniappe Sessions.   His selections did not disappoint. Ringle, in his own words, below…

I have been a fan of Tim Hardin for quite a few years now and have always loved the string arrangement on this song. Hardin was an interesting character and one who I always thought had a weird story; born in Oregon, having his career take off in New York, and then dying of a drug overdose in LA. I’ve always kind of thought of him as Oregon’s own answer to Dylan, but sadly, tempered with a fatalistic Bukowski/Kerouac streak (especially in his last years). I thought it would be a fun tune to play around with a little but we ended up staying pretty true to the original.

MP3: Horse Feathers :: Reason to Believe (Tim Hardin)

I’m definitely a member of the club that enjoys Springsteen in the absence of the E Street Band which is what makes this song so great. The raw nostalgia on this one makes all the verses so palpable and so easy to relate to on some level. When I first moved to Portland from Idaho I would listen to Nebraska driving back and forth on I-84. Driving through the Columbia river Gorge is about as far away from the New Jersey “Lunar Landscape” that Nebraska describes but nevertheless that album seemed like a perfect companion. This song always was one of my favorites from Nebraska and thought it was worth a try.

MP3: Horse Feathers ::  Used Cars (Bruce Springsteen)

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