AmericanA to Z – Ian Felice

Ian Felice, who many of you of course will know as lead singer/guitarist/songwriter for The Felice Brothers has spent better more than a decade carving up the grittier side of Americana. Overlooking the bequeathed politic outlook of his country, denouncing capitalism and greed and shedding light on the darker side of mental condition, are just some of the clear footholds Felice has formed in his song writing.

His creative output has been considerably high, not just as a songwriter but also a prolific painter and poet telling The Guardian in a recent interview, “Once you get into a zone, you know it’s going to be good. But if you’re being too analytical about it, so much can go wrong. I don’t have a relationship with it, I just lose where I was when I wrote it, but it doesn’t matter. It’s good to move on.”

For Felice, growing up in the Catskill Mountains in upstate New York has an admitted romantic quality to it. Spending his upbringing listening to what most kids did at that age from Nirvana to Wu-Tang Clan, it wasn’t until middle school when he accrued his first guitar that he really discovered folk music for its worth, imploring the narratives and poetry of the likes of Woody Guthrie.

Later Felice would go on to attended art school at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn where he trained as a painter, but decided that life in a studio was too isolating and claimed that he wants to be in the world, having some kind of adventure. Albeit Felice continues to paint selling his artwork online and also painting album covers, expressing pleasure between the two worlds.

It was from 2006, that Felice’s desire to write music would re-connect the musical kinship, turning over his work to those that he trusted most, his brothers. The result of those sessions gave flight to ‘Through These Reins and Gone’, which would be the debut album from The Felice Brothers. Cushioning the walls of New York’s subway network, Ian and co began by busking as well as performing at dive bars and local restaurants. Some years later the band would find themselves back at the subway, busking for their dinner after only breaking even supporting Old Crow Medicine Show on tour. It seemed luck was not always on their side, returning back to find their home and studio underwater in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. Two weeks prior they had been offered a sync opportunity with Dow Chemical to use their song ‘Take This Bread’ in a gluten free bread commercial but even in the circumstances, Felice respectfully stood by his principles, turning down “a shit-load of money” in the face of desperation.

Felice’s journey of inspiration has rolled on considerably over the years and has seen the release of his own debut album, ‘In The Kingdom of Dreams’, to great critical acclaim. 14 years on Felice’s combination of folk punk rock psychedelia remains forever true and his work has been evermore resourceful whether recording in a chicken coop or their DIY studio at home in the garage. Though it feels like the world has been slow to catch up, this year will see to a much-deserved nomination for International Album of the Year at the Americana awards here in the UK.

The Canon:
2005 – Iantown (Self-released)
2006 – Through These Reins and Gone (Purest Searcher)
2007 – Tonight At the Arizona(Loose/CORTEX)
2007 – Adventures of The Felice Brothers Vol.1 (Carpenter)
2008 – The Felice Brothers (Team Love/New York Pro/Loose)
2009 – Yonder Is The Clock (Team Love)
2010 – Mix Tape (New York Pro)
2011 – Celebration, Florida (Fat Possum/Loose)
2011 – Poughkeepsie PrincessEP (Self-released)
2012 – God Bless You, Amigo (Self-released)
2014 – Favorite Waitress (Dualtone)
2015 – Felice Navidad (Self-released)
2016 – Life In The Dark (Yep Roc)
2016 – Country Ham (Yep Roc)
2017 – Tonight At The Arizona Ltd Ed re-issue (Loose)
2017 – In The Kingdom Of Dreams (Loose)
2019 – Undress (Yep Roc)

Key Releases: Being there is just the one solo venture for Ian Felice, ‘In The Kingdom Of Dreams’ would definitely make the cut but for a little history try ‘The Felice Brothers’ and for a rather special collaboration with producer and brother Simone Felice, stay tuned for ‘Undress’.

Author: Joe Edwards

From Devizes, Wiltshire I love, Rootsy Music Travelling Handmade Campers Old Mopeds

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