In his preface to a recent Little Feat retrospective compilation, the band's Paul Barrere wrote, "It's almost 33 years ago exactly since Mr. [Lowell] George came to the front door of the Laurel Canyon house I was livin' in, with that beautiful white "p" bass in hand, and asked if I wanted to try out as bass player for his new band. As most who know the story's end can tell you, as a bassist I make an excellent guitarist, and 3 years later-- when I finally began my stint in Little Feat-- I would never have guessed that I would be here writing these liner notes to yet another chapter in the now storied life of a band that has been my life, and a true labor of love."
Truth is, there really is no story's end yet, and Little Feat have indeed led a storied life ever since they formed in 1969. From then on, 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.
That story is about to add a major new chapter – the 2008 release of Join the Band, a very special project in Feat's history. Keyboardist Bill Payne came up with the idea of a CD that included many things, but featured major Little Feat hit songs as played by a band that included Feat and some very special friends. When you have friends like Jimmy Buffett, Dave Matthews, Emmylou Harris, Bob Seger, Bela Fleck, Brooks and Dunn, Chris Robinson (Black Crowes), Vince Gill, Mike Gordon (Phish), and Inara George (band founder Lowell's daughter) – you have musical treasure in your hands. Join the Band is going to make some noise.
Easily one of the hardest working bands in show biz, today's Little Feat is a seven-member powerhouse that ably carries on the group's tradition in both the recording and touring arenas. Their most recent studio album is Kickin' It At The Barn, produced by Feat-ers Paul Barrere, Bill Payne and Fred Tackett. It's named after the place it was recorded throughout 2003, Tackett's barn-come-studio in Topanga Canyon, which Bill Payne has called "Little Feat's version of The Band's ‘Big Pink'," and which lent an invaluable ambience to the undertaking. In his liner notes, faithful Feat scribe Paul Barrere writes, "If music is a conversation between the players, then we are talking like never before…this has been truly one of the most memorable recording projects we've done. We started with an idea to write songs on acoustic guitar and piano, like the old days before computers and samples, and then let the band interpret the music."
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. 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 sailin' into the future with no end in sight.