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Music » Sound Stories & Interviews

Rock Endurance

Iconic '70s band Little Feat is still groovin'

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With only one founding member remaining, L.A. boogie band Little Feat has somehow survived—and actually thrived—for nearly 45 years.

Today, the band's music sounds almost nothing like the classic rock initiated by legendary songwriter and guitarist Lowell George when he and his buddy Bill Payne—who is still with the band—formed Little Feat in 1969, after George left Frank Zappa's group Mothers of Invention. Instead, Little Feat's latest album, 2012's Rooster Rag, is straight Americana. With fiddle, mandolin, and handclaps, the current iteration of the band—which includes Sam Clayton, Paul Barrere and Kenny Gradney, who have been with Little Feat since its third album—is also a far cry from its style in the late '70s, namely jazz rock and funk.

Little Feat has, at one time or another, dug into just about every contemporary genre and its members have worked with some of the biggest names in music; Little Richard, Carly Simon and Robert Palmer, just to name a few. When it comes to music academia, these guys know their stuff.

Current Little Feat lead singer Barrere and multi-instrumentalist Fred Tackett will be performing an acoustic duo show at The Tower Theatre in Bend on Nov. 14, and the Source caught up with Barrere to see if we could tap into his ear and find out what other bands Little Feat thinks deserve iconic status.

As Barrere says, they're "all older established bands, but great music."

Leftover Salmon—Pioneers of new-grass, Boulder Colorado's Leftover Salmon is one of the "it" bands when it comes to listing legendary bluegrass groups.

Jon Cleary—British blues pianist Cleary traveled to America upon graduating from art school, enlisting in a school-of-hard-knocks approach to the genre by immersing himself in the New Orleans club scene.

Ry Cooder—California band leader and guitar player extraordinaire, Cooder is a genius when it comes to blending zydeco, island world music, jazz and rock into one easy-rolling sound.

Col. Bruce Hampton—Southern honkytonk and psychedelic rock dominate the music made by this Atlanta talent.

The Derek Trucks Band—A combination of killer slide guitar and jazz, The Derek Trucks Band plays rich blues tunes with attitude.

Paul Barrere and Fred Tackett of Little Feat

7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14

The Tower Theatre

835 N.W. Wall St.

Tickets $35 - $45 at www.towertheatre.org

About The Author

Ethan Maffey

Both a writer and a fan of vinyl records since age 5, it wasn't until nearly three decades later that Oregon Native Ethan Maffey derived a plan to marry the two passions by writing about music. From blogging on MySpace in 2007 and then Blogspot, to launching his own website, 83Music, and eventually freelancing...

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