The Random Hubiak Recommends: Featherburn
Happy July 4th to all of you who actually read my newsletters! The good news for those of you waiting to hear new material from The Random Hubiak Band is that we’ll have a new single out on July 19, and I’ll tell you about that in another newsletter.
Today’s newsletter is simply to share more awesome music with you from others whose music I feel makes the world a better place. And today those others happen to be Lancaster PA’s self-described accordion-powered romp-rockers Featherburn.
I first met John “Milo” Milosich (the face, voice, and grand architect of Featherburn’s musical vision) and Tim Jenkins (percussionist and vocalist) at the 2018 Millennium Music Conference in Harrisburg PA, where I like to jokingly say that I picked up Milo in the men’s room of the conference hotel. And the truth isn’t all that far from that joke: as I was using the facilities, I suddenly found myself on the receiving end of some conversational questions that I assumed must be intended for somebody who was already in tow with the party doing the talking; as I craned my neck to see whom the fellow at the next urinal over was directing his queries at, I realized I was the only other person in the restroom. Lacking any body shame or verbal filter, I jumped into the conversation and struck up a quick friendship and invited Milo to join me and the group with whom I’d already made dinner plans for the opening activities of the conference.
Milo is one of those people who is just so good-natured and endearing that you pray, upon finding out that he’s a musician, that the music won’t suck, because you’d hate to have to dodge the question about what you think about his compositions. (Wow, the engineering on your single was very precise, Katy Perry!) Fortunately for me — and the world at large — I fell instantly in love with the songs Milo sent me to listen to. For months afterwards, I found myself playing the ebullient and sublime “Hiding in Love” several times every morning as a matter of not only routine but necessity.
Featherburn’s music is, to put it mildly, grand. It has an absolute largeness about it: largeness of heart, of soul, of melody, of crescendoes and sudden retreats, that can hardly be verbalized and must be experienced. You can hear elements of eastern European folk music in it, obviously: How can you NOT when the accordion is part and parcel of the arrangement? But there’s a blending of rock and prog and even some soul in unique ways that are both surprising and intimately reassuring. It fairly bursts with hope and love. One can’t help but feel rhapsody and euphoria from even a casual listen, although I defy you to simply listen casually. These songs are often in the six minute range, but every one of them ends, I assure you, far sooner than you want them to.
The production value is top-notch, although it never sounds overproduced or slick. And apparently they put on an amazing show, too, although the closest I’ve come to seeing Featherburn live is to catch Milo performing “solo” a few weeks ago when we shared a lineup at 228 Presents in Phoenixville PA. (By the way, I cannot say thank you enough to Jesse Crater for organizing that wonderful shindig! Jesse, you are the best!) Even as a one-man-musical-wonder, Milo is something to behold — the man is a machine and a monster, working the drum kit with his feet while he plays accordion and sings, with an occasional interlude on harmonica to, oh, I don’t know, maybe give his voice a rest? Ha! And of course, he’ll occasionally grab a guitar for something really stripped down and intimate. But for Featherburn, every song could be an anthem, in the way that the same could be said of so many songs by Styx, Smashing Pumpkins, Arcade Fire, or Electric Light Orchestra (although I can't recall any of those artists ever incorporating entire passages from Victor Hugo into their songs as Featherburn does in “Hiding in Love”).
I highly recommend that you give Featherburn a listen. Some of their songs are available on Spotify and YouTube for streaming, and CDBaby and iTunes too, I believe, for purchase. But why not just head straight to Featherburn’s website, where you can stream their latest EP, One Precious Life, directly from Soundcloud and maybe purchase a track or two while you’re at it directly from them? Also, if you sign up for their mailing list, you will get free exclusive music downloads and downloads of handwritten lyrics. These guys are an embarrassment of music riches and artistry.