In the very same Idaho town that bore folk darling Josh Ritter, another upstart songwriter was spending his early days honing his craft by bouncing between different bands before moving from Moscow to a stronger music scene in Portland in 2004.
His name is Justin Ringle, and he's the driving force behind the alt-folk band Horse Feathers. The group will be coming back to the Red Room on Nov. 6, their second stop at the venue.
Shortly after arriving in Portland, Ringle recorded a few songs that caught the ear of Peter Broderick, a musician who has played with other indie luminaries in Dolorean and Norfolk & Western. Impressed by the tunes, Broderick tracked Ringle down and offered to properly record his songs. The partnership stuck with Ringle writing the songs and Broderick setting them to music with strings woven into sparse arrangements.
Their most recent CD, House With No Home, came out in 2008 through the Kill Rock Stars label and offers the same kind of melancholy indie folk you might hear from Bon Iver, but more grounded and not as haunting.
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Caleb Ingersoll, manager of the Red Room, said about 50 people came out for their last stop earlier this year. And he said the performance blew him away.
"They have a super dynamic stage presence," he said. "They go from really intricate, quiet spaces and then just explode."
In an interview with the Spectrum Culture blog earlier this year, Ringle's love for smaller venues probably points to why they decided on a return trip.
"I enjoy the intimacy of a seated or smaller room, but it's just a different thing. We play a little bit more of the forward things and tend to sit out on the quieter, sparer numbers. Just because when people are standing up, often times their patience is less than when they're seated."
The Red Room holds about 200 people comfortably -- pretty intimate. For more information, go to http://redrm.net.
*Jeremy Dutton: 582-1525; jdutton @tricityherald.com