Music News Desk/ Broadway World
Formed in 2006, the Felice Brothers are a Hudson Valley, New York-based folk rock ensemble hailed by the AV Club for a sound at once “timeless, yet tossed-off.” The band started husking in the subways, and went from playing subway stations and Brooklyn Apartments to high-profile gigs, such as Levon Helm’s Midnight Ramble in Woodstock, and festivals, including: Mountain Jam, Clearwater Festival, Bonnaroo, Philadelphia Folk Festival and the All Points West Music & Arts Festival.
They’ve released plenty of music over the past decade, often on their own without a record company, but the new, self-produced album – released by the venerable roots-music label Yep Roc – Life in the Dark was recorded in a garage on an upstate New York farm, observed only by audience of poultry. “The recording is definitely rough around the edges,” says James Felice (who engineered the recording and contributed accordion, keyboards and vocals). “It was liberating and really cool to do. It allowed us to untether ourselves from anything and just make music.”
Because of makeshift studio set-up, the music they made was necessarily stripped down, emphasizing acoustic instruments and spacious arrangements on songs that showcase the sound of a band playing together live, with echoes in the music of Woody Guthrie, Townes Van Zandt and John Prine. “We tried to make it as simple and folk-based as possible, because we were working with limited resources,” says Ian Felice, singer and guitarist. “We wanted to take all the frills out and make it just meat and potatoes.”