STORY WRITTEN BY ROB NAGY
For Digital First Media
With a decade under their belt as one of Indie’s hardest working bands, “The Felice Brothers” (featuring Ian Felice (guitar), James Felice (piano, accordion), Josh Rawson (bass), Greg Farley (fiddle) and William Lawrence (drums)) are returning to the road in support of their latest album, “Life In The Dark.”
“We recorded the record ourselves, in a garage, last year,” says James Felice, from his home in upstate New York. “It’s a collection of nine tracks all written by my brother Ian, who is our lead singer. The record is close in spirit and execution to our live show, as we’ve been doing it the last couple of years.”
“The thing that makes the record special and different for us is that I think the quality of the songs is outrageous,” adds Felice. “Recording was surprisingly easy. I can’t speak for the challenge of the songwriting, which my brother did, and it took months. I engineered the record, which was my first time doing that. I found the whole experience liberating. I think the record captures our live show as close as is possible. We went through a few takes of each song, chose the best take and moved on.”
“The record title, “Life In The Dark,” is how we all live in some way or another. We are all always in the dark when something’s wrong. The world is so mysterious, and we’re just trying to peek through the shutter at what is out there.”
Standout tracks include “Aerosol Ball,” “Life in the Dark,” “Plunder,” Diamond Bell” and “Dancing on the Wing.”
Formed in 2006 in the Catskill Mountains of New York, The Felice Brothers honed their live show by performing in New York City’s 42nd Street, Union Square and Greenwich Village subway stations.
“We all grew-up working class,” says Felice. “We just started playing together and it developed into a band. When we started, we just did it because we had no other source of income at the time. We played in the street and hustled. We were always struggling to make ends meet.”
The Brothers released their independent debut album, “Through These Reins and Gone,” in 2006. Radio Woodstock (WDST) picked the release as one of the top 25 albums of the year. The albums “Yonder Is The Clock” (2009) and “Celebration, Florida” (2011) made Billboard’s Top 200 chart.
The Felice Brothers’ reputation as a live act earned the an invitation to some of the most prestigious music festivals in the U.S., including “The Newport Folk Festival,” “The Philly Folk Festival,” “Bonnaroo” and “Mountain Jam.”
“We’re a live act,” says Felice. “I don’t think there’s anything that brings us the joy of playing a live show for an appreciative audience in the right space. I think there is nothing that I do in my life that is as fun and satisfying. We used to consider shows like going to church. We’re here together to just share music. The folk tradition is so important to us.”
“We are not rich. We’re not famous. We sort of have been on the same level for many years,” adds Felice. “But it’s a really good place. It’s a place where we have amazing fans that are loyal to us and have been coming to shows for ten years. When you start out, you have visions of rock stardom. We haven’t gotten there, but I think we’ve gotten to a place that’s way better. We’re artistically free and surviving. We’re like a working class band.”
“Philly has been really important to us,” says Felice. “Some of the best shows we have ever had have been in Philly. Some of my favorite people that I have ever played shows for are there. It is absolutely amazing. We love playing Philly!”