On Friday night longtime HT faves the Felice Brothers pulled into Hoboken, New Jersey to play their farewell show to Maxwell’s, the legendary rock club located on the corner of Washington and 11th Street, which is set to shut its doors at the end of July after 35 years. The upstate New York folk-rock act had something special in store for their last visit to the club, as they were joined by Conor Oberst, who offered up a brief unannounced opening set and joined the band on vocals throughout their 22-song set. Prior to their encore, the Felice Brothers, with the addition of Oberst, nodded to the venue’s past by offering up a rather ramshackle take on Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band’s 1985 hit Glory Days.
The music video, which was directed by Hoboken resident John Sayles, was shot at various locations in New Jersey including Miller Park Stadium in West New York, Charlie’s Corner in Secaucus and Maxwell’s. While Conor and The Felice Brothers struggled mightily with some of the verses and with a technical glitch, the boisterous crowd in front of the stage enthusiastically helped them out as it turned into a giant sing-along. Let’s check it out…
Last year longtime HT faves The Felice Brothers self-released God Bless You Amigo, a 21-track collection of home recordings that the ramshackle folk-rock act sold in hopes of either buying a new touring van or help record a new album. In a recent interview with Asheville, North Carolina’s independent newspaper Mountain Xpress, the band’s lead singer Ian Felice revealed that they had gone with the latter, stating that they had recorded the new album live with no overdubs, which now just needs to be mixed. In addition to the brief interview, which you can watch here, Felice also performed a new untitled song, which we can only assume will appear on their upcoming release.
The Felice Brothers have a number of high profile festival appearances lined up this summer, including Newport Folk, Pickathon and Grand Point North, and have also announced a string of West Coast dates with Conor Oberst this fall.
This past weekend longtime HT faves the Felice Brothers completed a three-night New Year’s run that included two intimate sold-out shows at Maxwell’s in Hoboken and a New Year’s Eve gig at New York City’s Mercury Lounge. The upstate New York-based band - whose choice in covers typically leans towards the likes of Townes Van Zandt, Woody Guthrie, Bruce Springsteen or traditional folk tunes – played a handful of unexpected new ones over the course of the run.
To close Saturday night’s show, Ian embraced his inner crooner tackling the Elvis classic Can’t Help Falling In Love, putting his unmistakable, ragged, whiskey-soaked vocal stamp on the tender ballad…
On Sunday night, the ramshackle folk-rock act upped the ante during their encore, opening up with the one-two punch of Golden Slumbers -> Carry That Weight from The Beatles’ Abbey Road medley, before turning the shoebox-sized club into a full-on mosh pit with a cover of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit, a tune that Kurt Cobain probably never envisioned would be covered by a band with a fiddle player in it. Let’s check them out…
Taking a page out of the Radiohead playbook, earlier this week HT faves The Felice Brothers unexpectedly announced the release of God Bless You, Amigo – a 20-track record that features eight originals and 12 traditional folk songs. The ramshackle folk-rock band are currently offering up the digital-only release for just $5, posting the following message to their website about the circumstances that lead to the its release…
God Bless You, Amigo is a collection of home recordings made in the spring of 2012. Due to a cloud of misfortune resembling in part the curse of Rocky Colavito, our home was nearly destroyed by a freak hurricane; our prized and seemingly immutable Winnebago was driven to the ground and mercy shot somewhere in Vermont (long may she stalk the golden highways of heaven); our singer and lead guitarist, Wall Street Panic Snopes, was hospitalized for an acute skin disorder in a foreign hospital; and then in what seemed a perfect finale, all of our amps sizzled out and died during rehearsal upon his return.
This made us go insane with laughter and play our favorite song, “Gulf Of Mexico” – which is also a known aid in exorcism – for what seemed like hours. The old fiddle tune had a strange power over the band, but our management convinced us that releasing a four-hour instrumental was a little too reckless, even for us. After much deliberation we all agreed that we should play more songs along with “Gulf of Mexico.” We all spit in our hands and shook on it. This material consists of eight traditional folk songs and 12 original songs that we’ve always liked, but never had a chance to put on records.
The proceeds from God Bless You, Amigo will go towards a new tour vehicle so that we can come and play your town, or enable us to go into a studio and record a new album (as we have a lot of new material), or to fix our amps. It’s only a $5 download, but you can give more if you are feeling philanthropic.
Finally, it was just last year when we were touting the Wanda Jackson’s “comeback” record The Party Ain’t Over, her first album in seven years, which was produced by Jack White. Barely a year and a half later the 74-yeard-old Queen Of Rockabilly is back with a new set of music entitled Unfinished Business, this time recruiting first time producer alt.country singer Justin Townes Earle to step behind the boards. The album, which will hit stores on October 9, is another covers-only affair featuring songs from the likes of Townes Van Zandt, Eric Clapton, Bobby Womack and a take on Wilco’s (via Woody Guthrie) California Stars. Check out the full track listing…
I’m Tore Down, The Graveyard Shift, Am I Even a Memory (feat. Justin Townes Earle), Pushover, It’s All Over Now, Two Hands, Old Weakness, What Do You Do When You’re Lonesome, Down Past the Bottom, California Stars
Back in early May, HT faves the Felice Brothers released their latest studio album, Celebration Florida, the group’s first LP for Fat Possum Records. The ramshackle folk-rockers aren’t wasting any time in getting fans even more new music, as they are offering up their new EP – Poughkeepsie Princess – which they recorded at home, for free via their website. For the price of your email address, the band will share a new track each week over the course of five weeks, which began last Wednesday, that you can download for free until you’ve collected the entire thing. The first two songs, Among The Missing and Loser Take All, are both currently available.
Finally, Willie Nelson is no stranger to the art of the cover, having tackled tunes from the likes of Townes Van Zandt to Procol Harum to the Grateful Dead throughout his storied career. The latest song to be interpreted by the country music legend is Coldplay’s Scientist, which Nelson recorded as the soundtrack of the short film entitled, Back to the Start, both of which were commissioned by the Mexican food chain Chipotle to promote sustainable farming. The song, which you can hear in the video below, is currently available on iTunes for $.99, with proceeds benefiting The Chipotle Cultivate Foundation. Take a look…
In conjunction with the May 10th release of Celebration, Florida, The Felice Brothers released an elaborate video for the lead single, Ponzi. The Ian Cinco-directed video portrays a woman tangled in the spotlight of her miscreant husband’s Wall Street scandal. With lyrics that could be pulled straight from the financial headlines of recent years, the action succeeds both in bringing out the tension and putting the song in context…
If you didn’t think it was possible for Zooey Deschanel to get anymore adorable, then think again. The doe-eyed musician/actress will be featured on the soundtrack to Disney’s reboot of Winnie The Pooh, which is due in theaters on July 15. Deschanel’s contributions include her take on the classic Winnie the Pooh theme song, A Very Important Thing To Do, and the original end-credit song, So Long, which was written and performed with her She & Him band mate M. Ward. Zooey also lent her vocals to the tracks Everything is Honey and Pooh’s Finale, where she sings alongside the actors who voiced Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Owl, Rabbit, Eeyore, Kanga and Roo.
List Time: 15 Baseball Songs Better Than Centerfield
Finally, we’ve got some news out of the Felice Brothers camp that we wanted to pass along. As we previously mentioned, the band will release their new studio album Celebration, Florida on May 10, the group’s first on Fat Possum Records. In conjunction with the release the band is holding a photo contest, inviting fans to create signs spelling out “Celebration, Florida” and the album’s release date. All submissions will be posted on the Felice Brothers’ various sites and the band will pick three winners, who will win this nifty prize pack – a poster and copies of Celebration, Florida; Yonder Is The Clock; and their self-titled album, all signed by the band.
As an added bonus the Felice Brothers are currently streaming the album’s first single Ponzi, which is also currently available on iTunes for purchase. The Felice Brothers “Ponzi” by fatpossum
Seems like everything is coming up Elton this week. As we previously reported, the Rock & Roll Hall Of Famer has been tapped to be the not only host, but also appear as the musical guest, along with Leon Russell, for the April 2 episode of Saturday Night Live. Now comes the news that Elton will perform a free show on April 20 to open the Tribeca Film Festival. The gig will take place at the North Cove at the World Financial Plaza, following the free outdoor world-premiere screening of Cameron Crowe’s documentary about the making of the Elton and Leon’s album The Union.
Finally, on May 10, longtime HT faves The Felice Brothers will release their new studio album Celebration, FL via Fat Possum. Recorded in the library and theater of an old school in Beacon, NY, the 11-track album “casts interweaving scenes of dreamy characters and stories, including: a young girl who crimps her hair and spies her dead father driving down the road (Fire at the Pageant); shady degenerates who get lost in a mystery surrounding a car (Honda Civic); a Wall Street scandal hits a little too close to home (Ponzi); and a late night host recounting his rise to fame for his honeybee while traveling in a private jet (Dallas).” So basically everything we’ve come to love from the ramshackle upstate-New York, folk-rockers.
Longtime HT faves the Felice Brothers have announced the details for the first round of 2011 tour dates. The upstate New York-based act will kick things off with a high profile appearance at SXSW on March 19, where they will play a showcase gig at the Auditorium Shores, that will feature Bright Eyes, Man Man and Middle Brother. The band will then head out for a cross-country headlining run, which will include their debut performance at Coachella, as well as their first-ever tour down under with dates scheduled in New Zealand and Australia. The Felice Brothers will also release a new album later this year, with more details coming in the weeks ahead.
If you’re not into a night with the roots-rockers, than maybe you’ll be interested in hitting one of these recently announced tours…
Finally, as Pearl Jam continues to plan a celebration around their 20th anniversary, which will include hosting their own festival, the venerable alt.rock act’s bass player Jeff Ament has dropped the news that he’ll be releasing an album with his new side project, Tres Mts. The band, which also includes Doug Pinnick (King’s X) and Richard Stuverud (The Fastbacks, War Babies), will head out for a five-city tour with added assistance from PJ’s Mike McCready, who plays guitar on the album. The short run will make stops in Seattle, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, New York and Boston and also includes an appearance on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. Tres Mts.’ debut will hit stores on March 16, with the band currently offering up a free download of the track My Baby via a variety of social media outlets.
A few weeks back, Conor Oberst & The Felice Brothers teamed up for a California micro-tour leading up to their appearances at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival in San Francisco. The shows featured the Felice Brothers pulling double-duty as the opening act, and backing Oberst – who mined his catalog playing a mix of Bright Eyes material and songs from his solo efforts.
Fresh off their much buzzed about sold out, two-night stand at MSG in New York, Montreal-based act the Arcade Fire have announced the details for their West Coast heavy fall tour. The indie-rock band, whose fourth studio album The Suburbs debuted at number one on the Billboard charts two weeks ago, will kick things off on Sept. 22 in St. Paul, MN at the Roy Wilkins Arena before heading across the border to Canada and back down the Pacific Coast for shows in Seattle, Portland, Berkley, Big Sur and a two-night run at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, CA on October 7 and 8.
If you’re not into a night of sprawling, bombastic indie-rock than maybe you’ll be interested in hitting one of these recently announced tours…
Finally, with so many of different bands to choose from – Bright Eyes, Desaparecidos, Mystic Valley Band, Monsters Of Folk – prolific singer-songwriter Conor Oberst has decided to go a completely different route for his late September, California micro-tour. Oberst has recruited fellow Team Love label mates The Felice Brothers to serve not only as his opening act, but also as his backing band for his shows in Pioneeertown, Santa Barbara and Big Sur – which precedes both acts appearance at the 10th annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival at San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.
With a seemingly rotating door on music festivals over the last handful of years it’s assuring to know that you can continually count on the Newport Folk Festival to be there year in and year out, offering up a high quality and diverse lineup in one of the most serene settings imaginable. Returning once again to the historic Fort Adams State Park, the fest delivered an amazing swath of artists from folk to funk and everything in between.
Much like how there are those musicians that are referred to as a “singer-songwriter’s singer-songwriter,” well now after having attended Newport Folk the label of a “music fan’s music fest” might be the best way to describe it. With three stages and 30-plus acts to choose from, it seemed relatively easy to plant yourself in front of one stage for the day – like many did – and take in all the action. For the ambitious music lovers though, the close proximity of the Fort, Harbor and Quad stages made it a breeze to catch an impressive amount of music over the two-day span.
Saturday kicked off with one of the fest’s biggest success stories – The Low Anthem – who just three years prior were picking up trash as on-site volunteers and now found themselves with a main stage slot. The Providence-based band showcased their gorgeous folk music, which features an odd menagerie of instruments – crotales, harmonium and clarinet – along with the obvious guitar, bass and drums. Taking in just a handful of songs, which was highlighted by a sublime take on Apothecary, and their interpretation of Rev. Gary Davis’ Sally Where’d You Get The Liquor From?, I had to pulled myself away from really the one lone conflict of the weekend to see a full set from A.A. Bondy.
We’ve been ardent supporters of the Felice Brothers around these parts for quite some time now, having been smitten with their brand of story heavy Americana. The ragtag band from the Catskills, who earlier this summer opened several shows for the Dave Matthews Band, will continue their assault on the road as they’ve announced plans for a lengthy cross-country fall tour that kicks off on September 18 in Bristol, TN and includes a high profile stop at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco on October 3 as well as a Halloween night show at the Music Hall Of Williamsburg.
If you’re not into a night of foot stomping roots music, than maybe you’ll be interested in hitting one of these recently announced tours…
Finally, over the last few years Glen Hansard has focused his musical energies on The Swell Season – who became a touring band as a the result of the unexpected runaway success from the movie Once. While The Swell Season continue to tour the world, Glen’s other band - The Frames – have announced that they will make a rare appearance to celebrate their 20th anniversary with a show at New York’s Terminal 5 on November 20.
Just weeks removed from open heart surgery as a result of Aortic Stenosis, Simone Felice made his miraculous return to the stage this past weekend joining his former band mates and longtime HT faves The Felice Brothers during their scheduled set at the Clearwater Music Festival. Simone, who last year left the band for his own project The Duke & The King, strapped on a guitar to sing lead vocals on Radio Song…
The Felice Brothers next scheduled appearance will be at the first annual Nateva Music Festival on July 2, which kicks off a month-long tour that also includes a stop at the Newport Folk Festival on August 1, while Simone will head out for a solo tour that begins on August 7 at the City Winery.
This year at Hidden Track, we concocted a little experiment for our year-end Best Albums of 2009 list. Instead of picking the old fashioned way – subjectively – we opted for something a little different: a collaborative, collective list that incorporates the opinions of everybody here at HT.
To begin, we devised an all-encompassing list of around 100 nominees and populated it in a Google spreadsheet – essentially anything that anybody who writes for Hidden Track liked at all, made the list. Then we invited our crew of writers to independently vote on the whole list (omitting anything unfamiliar) on a scale of 1 to 20 (20 = five stars). We ended up with 33 voters with varying degrees of familiarity with the nominees; some folks voted on just about everything, while some just a few. From there, we eliminated anything that did not receive at least three votes, calculated the average scores, and sorted it. We took the top 25 scores and presto: the Hidden Track 25 Best Albums of 2009. No bullshit, no big opinions; just the results.
Key Tracks: Stars Of Leo, Rave On, Never Had Nobody Like You
Sounds Like: An old antique photo
Skinny: In 2008 M. Ward seemed to take a backseat to doe-eyed actress Zooey Deschanel as the Him in vintage indie-pop act She & Him, but he was back in 2009 with his latest solo release, Hold Time. The album is full of everything we’ve come to expect from Matt over the years – modern indie-rock that is completely bathed in the patina of the last fifty-plus years of pop music. Combining his sepia-drenched vocals and open tuning guitar work with guest appearances from the aforementioned Deschanel, Lucinda Williams and Grandaddy’s Jason Lytle.
READ ON for the next four albums in our countdown…