The Felice Brothersby The Felice Brothers
To fully understand that the Felice Brothers are the real deal -- that they're a pack of earth-stained country boys from the wilds of the Catskill Mountains, not Ivy Leaguers who thought ransacking their parents '60s records would a better career move than grad school -- it helps to see them live, where they channel the Woodstock spirit with authenticity and reverence. It doesn't hurt that Ian Felice sounds like Bob Dylan after a handful of singing lessons, his vocals weathered and weary but skilled enough to bring these Appalachian melodies to life. It doesn't hurt that he knows when to speak, when to croon, and when to hand over the microphone to one of his brothers, several of whom helm their own songs. Most of all, it doesn't hurt that the Felice Brothers are the perfect group to helm this sort of whiskey-soaked, Beat Generation nostalgia, as they inhabit their songs to the fullest extent possible. Theirs is a world of moons and moonshine, mountains and cabins, a place where men get drunk on Jack Daniels and stalk off, guns in hand, to confront their cuckolding wives. The Tennessee-bred Kings of Leon sang about a similar world on Youth & Young Manhood and Aha Shake Heartbreak, but while those siblings were blessed with fashion sense and rugged good looks, the Felices are ragged, scruffy, and dirty-faced. So even when this self-titled LP gets bogged down by a string of melancholic ballads -- even when the band's devotion to Depression-era imagery gets a bit too depressing -- the Felice Brothers remain thoroughly convincing and skate by on the strength of the atmosphere they've created. Accordions, Hammond organs, guitars, and group vocals are all here, conjuring up memories of vagabonds wandering the train tracks and drunks falling off their barstools. One can't help but wish the 15-track set list included more numbers like "Frankie's Gun," which features some of Ian's wittiest lyrics and the brothers' spot-on imitation of the Band, but it's hard to find fault in this collection of earthy ballads and barroom jams.
- Release Date:
- Team Love Records
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