That merry band of Hudson River vagabonds, The Felice Brothers have a fourth full length album Celebration, Florida ready to launch and even more excitedly, they are finally making their way to Australia for a handful of shows in Sydney and Melbourne this April. This Lost Shark snapped up a ticket to their show at the legendary Annandale Hotel in Sydney and now I am marking the days on the calendar in anticipation.
More than any band working today (at least in my world), they know how to write a mean ballad. Channeling Guthrie & Dylan through a filter of rambling blues and the raw sensuality of the carnival, The Felice Brothers have penned some of the finest barroom ballads of the past decade. Songs like Ballad of Lou the Welterweight, Rockefeller Drug Law Blues, Katie Dear, Frankie’s Gun & Cooperstown have marked them as unflinchingly honest storytellers. To quote the Filter Good Music Guide,
the places and people they’re singing about aren’t literary devices but actual people doing their damnedest to rage against the growing darkness.
The song that has been drawing me further and further in to its menacing narrative is Boy From Lawrence County from their third album, Yonder is the Clock. When Ian Felice sings,
Be so kind, tell me warden
who’s in line to die this morning
can I see the show?
If he bore his teeth to scare us
would we see our likeness sheriff
in the pearly glow?
it never fails to raise the hair on the back of my neck. You can read the full lyric here and better still, here’s the brothers in all their full-throated glory, live at The Tractor in Seattle.
Roll on April, roll on.