The appeal of folk music is simple: It’s honest, it’s wholesome and it’s full of heart. All of these qualities of folk music can be found in the haunting songs of The Felice Brothers, a folk-rock band from upstate New York. Known for their uncannily similar sound to Bob Dylan and his band, The Felice Brothers have managed to gain popularity through recent years. From playing music underground on the subway lines of New York City to bluegrass festivals in San Francisco, the band of brothers has come a long way since they began playing music.
Though the band is well traveled, they have yet to play a show in Phoenix — until now. The Felice Brothers are set to headline at The Rhythm Room on Tuesday, Nov. 1.
James Felice, the band’s accordionist, vocalist and keyboardist, told The State Press, “We’ve actually never played in Phoenix. We broke down there once … I remember it was one of the hottest days in Phoenix history … and we were dying. No air conditioning, six guys on a bus and we wanted to die.”
James said, “I’m very excited, I just pray it’s not so f—ing hot.”
Ian and James Felice started the band back in 2006 when they would play on New York City subway lines with their friend, Christmas Clapton, and other brother, Simone Felice, who eventually left the band. “It was exciting for us,” James said. “We weren’t really performers before that. It was our first foray into playing live in front of an audience.”
Unlike rock band Kings of Leon, The Felice Brothers know how to keep family matters out of their work. Being brothers, career partners and artistic companions cannot be easy. However, James Felice is able to keep a level head. “It’s fine, you know,” he said. “We get in fights and stuff and disagree, but when you’re stuck in a … van with a dude long enough you’re gonna want to kill him. But we have fun together. We love what we do and we’re all very good friends and it all works out, usually.”
When discussing the band’s developing music style, James said, “Our musical pallet has grown substantially.” The band’s newest album, “Celebration, Florida” has a new sound compared to their previous albums. Featuring a little more production, the band created a very ambitious record. “We did the whole folky-acoustic thing a couple times. Our self-titled and ‘Yonder’ are both very, how do you say, simple. And that’s fun; that’s all well and good. But we wanted to try something new and we will continue to do new things in the future.”
On the tour that the band is calling “Celebration, Tour-ida,” James mentioned that all the band really wants to do is play good shows. “We know its tough to get people out these days. The economy sucks, people don’t have any money and there are so many other bands touring. We wanna give people a unique and fun show and have a good time. Also, the music that we play (is something) people don’t expect to hear, so we want them to come with an open mind.”
The band will be performing alongside Gill Landry of Old Crow Medicine Show at The Rhythm Room in downtown Phoenix. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are priced at $13-15 dollars.
Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org