Little Feat have led a storied life ever since they formed in 1969. Their unconventional signature of earthy, organic appeal and polished, first-rate musicianship wrapped around eclectic and memorable songs -- clearly delivered as an authentic labor of love -- has been a lasting fixture on the musical landscape. As American as apple pie--and rock ‘n roll itself--Feat’s music transcends boundaries, a freewheeling fusion of California rock and Dixie-inflected funk-boogie. In the mix as well are strains of folk, blues, rockabilly, country and jazz, inventing a hybrid sound that is truly Little Feat’s own.
Through the years, they’ve scored dozens of hits, including “Dixie Chicken,” “Willin,’” “Let It Roll” and “Rock & Roll Doctor.” Little Feat will shake up The Ridgefield Playhouse on Wednesday, July 18 at 8pm, part of the Pepsi Rock Series powered by Xfinity. Visit The Hideaway (30 Grove Street • Ridgefield) for dinner the day of the show and enjoy a complimentary draft beer or glass of wine with your entree when you show your ticket. Media sponsor for this great night of classic rock is i95, The Home of Rock and Roll.
Feat’s story began in 1969 when songwriter, performer, multi-instrumentalist, and all around colorful character Lowell George, formerly of Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention, set out to form his own band -- at Zappa’s suggestion. The brilliant and often idiosyncratic George connected with keyboard master Bill Payne, and, along with drummer Richie Hayward and Roy Estrada, founded Little Feat. They were soon signed to Warner Bros., where Little Feat, in various configurations, would remain for twelve of their sixteen albums.
During Little Feat’s recording of their eighth album as a group, 1979’s Down On The Farm, founding member Lowell George met a tragic and untimely passing. Except for Hoy, Hoy, a 1981 full-length assemblage of rarities, live performances, previously overlooked tracks, and a new song apiece from Payne and Barrere, Little Feat disbanded until the mid-‘80s. At that point, their own lyrics from ”Hangin’ On To The Good Times Here,” ”…although we went our own ways, we couldn’t escape from where we came, so we find ourselves back at the table again, telling stories of survivors and friends,” proved very telling. A chance jam session in 1986 brought them together again, when they were reminded of how deeply Little Feat’s music was ingrained in them.
Time has loved these musical heroes for more than three decades now, as have legions of fans and countless fellow musicians, many of whom they’ve played with over the years. Little Feat’s fabled collaborators have included Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Beck, Brian Wilson, Bonnie Raitt, Robert Plant, John Lee Hooker, Johnny Lang, and Leftover Salmon (for whom Bill Payne recently produced an album). With the success of Hot Tomato Records, an endeavor powered by an inspired band of musicians continuing to create exciting new material both individually and as a group, Little Feat will no doubt be sailing into the future with no end in sight.
For tickets ($125), call the box office at 203-438-5795, or visit ridgefieldplayhouse.org. The Ridgefield Playhouse is a non-profit performing arts center located at 80 East Ridge, parallel to Main Street, Ridgefield, CT.