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.