An indie folk band from Portland, Oregon, Horse Feathers consists of singer/songwriter Justin Ringle (acoustic guitar, vocals, percussion) and a rotating cast of supporting musicians, including multi-instrumentalist Peter Broderick and several string players. Ringle grew up in Idaho and performed in several short-lived indie rock bands before moving to Portland, where he began playing shows under the name Horse Feathers. It was in Portland that he met Broderick, a member of the established local act Norfolk & Western. The two spent much of 2005 writing songs and honing their live performances at various Portland open-mike nights, effectively turning Horse Feathers from a solo project into a duo.
Influenced by both the stark folk music of Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska and the post-classical work of Scandinavian composer Max Richter, the duo entered the studio in February 2006 to record Words Are Dead, a chamber-folk album featuring Ringle's high, reedy vocals and Broderick's Baroque filigree. Words Are Dead was released on Lucky Madison Records in September 2006. The band inked a deal with the Kill Rock Stars label the following year and released House with No Home in 2008. House with No Home became one of the highest-selling debuts in Kill Rock Stars' history, and Thistled Spring followed in 2010, marking the group's first release without Broderick. The band's fourth full-length outing, Cynic's New Year, arrived in 2012, followed in 2014 by the breezy So It Is with Us.