January 17, 2008

Sit for a spell with the Felice Brothers

Over recent months, a few trusted friends have recommended the Felice Brothers from New York as a group that I simply must listen to. I haven’t done so until now, and I am wondering what the heck took me so long.

A band of (mostly) actual brothers from the Catskills, there’s a raw and unfinished sound to their storytelling brand of folk-americana. I find that as you sit with them, the colors of their music start to come out in a warm rich burn, like a campfire at 2am. Very few artists write stories like this anymore, except for folks like Ray LaMontagne or the Hold Steady, in very different sounding ways.

Their vivid music is populated by characters with names like Long-Legged Brenda and take the listener along on all kinds of wild narratives that echo Dylan in their complexity and seeming unsingability. Both of these introductory tunes have a thoroughly warm, communal singalong feel to them, and the first tune in particular seems like it would be perfect behind the closing credits rolling on a really good movie.

Frankie’s Gun – The Felice Brothers
[from The Adventures of the Felice Brothers, Vol 1]

Roll On Arte – The Felice Brothers
[from Tonight At The Arizona, 2007, Loose UK]

Fresh off shows with Bright Eyes, David Gray, and Levon Helm, they’re playing tonight with Son Volt in Chicago, and then on tour in the coming months with artists like the Drive-By Truckers and North Mississippi Allstars.

Recently signed to Team Love Records (the label co-founded by Conor Oberst), the Felice Brothers will release a collection of new tunes combined with older hard-to-find tracks from the tour-only full length The Adventures of the Felice Brothers Vol 1. Their self-titled American debut will be out on March 4th 2008.

Given that “felice” means happy in italiano, they make me happy inside to have found them.

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  • damn woman, i have missed you. i don’t know if i can handle these “vacations”….

    Anonymous — January 17, 2008 @ 12:02 pm

  • Yay, Frankie’s Gun is really catchy! Nice stuff!

    Pete P. — January 17, 2008 @ 2:09 pm

  • Tonight at the Arizona by the Felice Bros is the best Bob Dylan album I’ve heard in a long time. Catch them on tour with Drive-By Truckers.

    Oz — January 17, 2008 @ 6:47 pm

  • I absolutely love these guys. I’ve been obsessed with The Adventures Of album for awhile now. Can’t wait to see them on Feb. 1st here in NYC.

    Some Dude — January 17, 2008 @ 9:18 pm

  • Any crew from the Catskills is A-OK with me. Do you guys remember that Mike Tyson used to train the in the Catskills when he was, like, twenty? You guys are probably all twenty. I’m about 120 (47, actually, but I feel ancient) and I’m young enough to remember when Mike Tyson and U2 ruled Planet Reagan with right hooks and Achtung Baby. Of course that’s about ALL I remember, since I spent most of my time drinking my marriage away. My HUSBAND got the kids! How often does that happen? Not very. Everyone stay young. Stay current. Stay linked.

    Kathleen — January 18, 2008 @ 3:53 pm

  • Remember, if you need to talk to a burnt out old bat for sage advice on compiling 80s mix CDs, you can hot up my band’s blog (yes, 47-year-old Bonnie Rait look-alikes sometimes have hip-hop collectives) at http://www.menofletters.org

    Kathleen — January 18, 2008 @ 3:56 pm

  • I uh..I think I owe you somfin for introducing me to the Felice Bros. Gonna go see ‘em at the Avalon in Hollywood Feb. 12th opening for the Drive-By Truckers. Thanks!

    pablo2541 — January 19, 2008 @ 11:41 am

  • Just got The Felice Brothers CD yesterday and I love it!

    muruch — March 7, 2008 @ 10:02 am

  • I love the album too and I have to suggest that, if you’re not already familiar with his work, you should seek out Ronnie Lane’s albums. To me, these guys sound like Dylan backed by Ronnie’s Slim Chance band. And that might be the highest praise I could bestow on anybody.


    helltoupee29 — March 14, 2008 @ 6:25 am

  • Hey, I just wanted to let everyone know I have made a Felice Brothers fansite. Check it out and help spread the word about this amazing band!


    Ryanohavok — May 9, 2008 @ 8:49 pm

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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