Featherfoot Charlie

Darren Smith (left to right), Shannon Griffey and Andrew Standley of Featherfoot Charlie pose for a photo on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The rush of freezing cold February air blows through 1867 Bar on the first night of the Lincoln Exposed music festival. Past the beer drafts and through the door in the back corner of the room stands the three-piece consisting of vocalist and guitarist Andrew Standley, bassist and backup vocalist Shannon Griffey and drummer Darren Smith, also known as Featherfoot Charlie, ready to play their first show as a band.

For the band, this wasn’t just a show. This was a vision coming to life.

As a 10-year-old, Standley learned to play guitar, looking up to pop punk legends like Simple Plan and MxPx. When Smith was 7, he would go back and forth with his dad on drum fills until one day his dad couldn’t keep up with his son’s improving skills. Griffey grew up on country music in a small town outside of Nebraska City but later fell in love with the fierceness of rock.

What all started as different sparks of musical passion eventually brought the three together to form the indie rock band Featherfoot Charlie.

Standley said he’s mistakenly neglected to cultivate a specific sound with previous projects, and Featherfoot Charlie won’t fall victim to it.

“We’re still kind of developing our sound, and I’ve made the mistake in the past with bands of never doing that,” he said. “So I want to get to a point soon where we’re like ‘We’re this.’”

Griffey said each musician brings different musical influences to the table. With pop punk from Standley, the groove rock drumming from Smith and a diverse influence of artists from John Mayer to Switchfoot for Griffey, the band shows there’s no genre to confine to how its sound develops.

Featherfoot Charlie is currently in the tracking process, recording its single with Matty Sanders, who has recorded local bands like Better Friend and drums in The JV Allstars. The trio hopes to have its first single out by mid-April.

If everything goes well with the single’s release, the band plans to jump back into the studio and record two more songs. The trio will release its tracks on streaming platforms for all to hear.

As for the rest of the year, Featherfoot Charlie wants to play more shows with the possibility of hitting the road to play in Sioux City, Kearney and Grand Island. According to Griffey, each member is willing to go wherever this band takes them.

“The sky’s the limit,” she said.

Standley reflected upon his dreams for the band, including an Omaha Entertainment and Arts Award nomination, playing festivals and releasing an EP.

The band is still in its beginning stages, but Standley said the members use their knowledge of good music to their advantage.

“Something we all have in common and why I love this project is that we’re all purists when it comes to music,” he said. “We all appreciate musicianship, showmanship.”

Standley discussed how showmanship is important to a band’s success when it comes to live performances, and the way to get better at performing live is to do it.

“You can do it here in the practice space and you can kill it, but when you get onstage, you can’t practice the venue,” he said “You can’t practice the energy, you can’t practice the crowd except by playing shows.”  

Making music not only allows for a relationship to be made with an audience, but it can often lead to becoming a support system for the artists themselves. For Standley, writing music has been a constant that remains through the wavering support systems of his past.

“Music has been the one staple in my life … I’ve had relationships and friends, and, sadly, a lot of people have come and gone, and music has always been that thing where I can sit down and either listen or play or write,” he said. “It helps me understand myself and the world a bit better.”