Monday, July 27, 2009

BBC Review: Great again

Lou Thomas 2009-07-23

Simone Felice and Robert 'Chicken' Burke adopted the names of two mischievous characters from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn for this album. Based on this alone, fans of the Mark Twain novel may surmise Nothing Gold Can Stay has a certain peripatetic charm and wistful longing; and they'd be right.

This tremendous collection of dusty Americana kicks off with If You Ever Get Famous. Felice's stunning, shimmering country folk vocal is as sad as waving goodbye to a loved one. When he sings, ''If you ever get famous, don’t forget about me'', it's impossible not to reflect on bridges burned.

The quality remains high. Still Remember Love takes a turn into Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young territory, albeit slightly adulterated with hints of Arthur Lee psychedelia, while Lose My Self crashes around epically like Pink Floyd soundtracking a western.

In Suzanne, meanwhile, there are jazzy trumpets, unhurried country guitars and a bluesy subject matter. Certainly this tale of an amorous man's determination to get the woman he wants references the classic JJ Cale Tulsa sound in consummate style.

One More American Song's affecting story of an army veteran reduced to pushing a shopping trolley in the street rounds off the album. Nick Cave and My Morning Jacket are the most obvious touchstones, but Dylan and Leonard Cohen are also brought to mind, such is the depth of emotion wrought by Felice and Burke's careful approach.

Many great songwriters write about aging, sadness, lost love and thwarted dreams. The Duke & The King are worthy of attention because they manage to tackle these big ideas with clarity, honesty and a total lack of pomposity and have created an understated gem.

You can listen to their BBC session which Simone told me they were told it was the best session they had ever had on the BBC. (that is high praise)


Sunday Times (London) 4/5 stars and Record of the Week

Nothing Gold Can Stay could hardly have had a sadder origin. Simone Felice, the drummer with the Felice Brothers, had been wondering for a while if it wasn’t time for a change when his girlfriend lost the baby they’d been expecting. With the impermanence of life thus shockingly revealed to him, he realised that he had to follow his heart, and that meant leaving the band he had formed with his brothers and finding a new musical direction. Felice hooked up with an old friend, Robert Burke, and the pair headed off into a cabin in the woods with a copy of Huckleberry Finn. From the book came their name, and from the cabin emerged — as is the way these days — a wondrous album. Yes, a sense of loss does hang heavily over these songs — mainly a sense of lost innocence and the desire to return to simpler times (“If we can only get to Union Street/Then everything will be all right”). But you may be surprised to discover that the music is sweet, soft and, for the most part, hopeful.

The ramshackle, Basement Tapes attitude of Felice’s old band has been replaced by a smoother sound that, at times, calls to mind James Taylor or Stephen Stills, although the mixer, Bassy Bob Brockmann, chooses to turn up the drums and turn down the chiming guitars, so things never get too syrupy. The sheer quality of the writing is epitomised by the seductive blue-eyed soul of Suzanne and by Lose My Self, a hook so perfect, it doesn’t need a song around it.

- Mark Edwards

* * * * *


Farley goes down at the Master's Musician Festival last week

Floydfest: kinda Setlist

murder by mistletoe
take this bread
lou the welter weight
Goddamn you jim
greatest show on earth
love me tenderly
Penn Station

More Duke and the King UK dates

# ri 25/09 – The Duke & The King – Open House Festival – Belfast
# Wed 23/09 – The Duke & The King – Bam Festival – Barcelona
# Tue 22/09 – The Duke & The King – Bedford Civic Center
# Sun 20/09 – The Duke & The King – The Glee Club – Birmingham
# Sat 19/09 – The Duke & The King – The Maze – Nottingham
# Thu 17/09 – The Duke & The King – The Cluny – Newcastle Upon Tyne
# Wed 16/09 – The Duke & The King – The Brudenell – Leeds
# Tue 15/09 – The Duke & The King – The Musician – Leicester
# Sun 13/09 – The Duke & The King – King Tuts – Glasgow
# Sat 12/09 – The Duke & The King – The Chattery – Swansea

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Duke and the King: Live @ Diggers

Wow. It was so special to those guys here.

Band arrived at 300pm and checked out the gear and the headed out to walk about the streets. Simone did a little writing on the beach. They came back and did soundcheck and the people arrived.

Opening the little party was Maryse Smith. Incredible songwriter and singer who really amazed the audience.
The set lasted about a half hour and she left. Look her up on myspace, she has a cd coming out soon, she is from Burlington vt. Her song "Loose thread" is amazing and features a very memorable vocal performance.

The band came on almost immediately after a beautiful introduction by Safe Haven Director Tony Lombardi. They then Simone came out and said I was a "Waterspider" , which is about as big a compliment one can give.
They did a slew of great songs. I was expecting an acoustic show, but it was far from it.


Man in the Mirror/
If You Ever Get Famous
Devil is Real
Angels in Heaven
Union St
Summer Morning Rain
I've Been Bad
The Morning i Get to Hell
Lend Me an Ear
American Song
Radio Song

Talked with Simone for a long time about what Take This Bread comes from and it was really special hearing how that song came out. We talked about how crazy the reviews are for the new record. The London Telegraph just gave it Five out of five stars and compared Simone to Lenoard Cohen.
They are kinda of cautious and happy with all the amazing attention and accolades they are getting. We Talked about the Felice Brothers, and why he moved on, and how he missed Ian. He talked about how great Ian's gift is. Family and marriage was discussed and he told me he is getting married this summer, and how his mom hooked him up with a great honeymoon package. We talked about the Big Empty and how Your Old Volvo was a tribute to his mom, and he sung a few bars for me.

Robert was real cool, talked about scoring films, recording The Big Empty and how they came up with now being just a trio, with the Deacon being the third vocal.

The Deacon won everyone over with his charm, and lovability. He feels like family to everyone.

The hook for these guys is the harmonies and the poetry. they are all great singers

Super show the food was great, everyone ate Lobsters, clams, burgers, salads of every kind, chicken wings, watermelon and cupcakes.

Thanks to all and we raised a good bit of money for charity.

See you all next year I hope as this event will grow

The Auctions went very well as a late bid on the Big Empty grabbed over $100, which i had signed by Simone. not too shabby as the last weeks efforts garnered almost $1500 for a couple of local charities.

London Telegraph: Nothing Gold can Stay (5 Stars) and compare Simone to Len Cohen

Like some lost classic from the Seventies, Simone Felice and songwriting partner Robert “Chicken” Burke blend Americana, soul and psychedelia with classic singer-songwriting.

Drummer with the extraordinary Felice Brothers and two-time novelist, Simone has the poetic gifts and fearless aesthetic to rank among the all-time greats, from Cohen to Cave.

Telegraph rating: * * * * *

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Final Auction Item! The Big Empty (Very Early Felice Brothers Rare CD)

Includes the classic "Your Old Volvo" as well as a smoother sounding Ian on "the Grace"

very rare!! get this while it lasts. This is my personal copy i am giving up (and final copy) for this charity.


Proceeds from the auction to benefit Camp Safe Haven( )

One of the main missions of the Safe Haven Project is to find the ways and means to reach out to young people living with HIV or AIDS. One way of acheiving this is through the "Camp Safe Haven" and "Vineyard Project" camp programs. These camp style retreats have occurred annually since Safe Haven^s inception.

Camps are hosted on the beautiful island of Martha's Vineyard each April, and now in North Carolina in August.

Campers attend at no cost to their families due to the kind donations we receive from businesses, foundations, and individuals.

A goal of camp is to connect the campers with a greater community comprised of their peers, our volunteers, and the community around them. Camp is a stigma-free environment that encourages fun, camaraderie, and mutual support.

Those who volunteer at a Camp Safe Haven event quite often describe the experience as "life-changing"; one that has powerful impact on their view of the world, and service.

Its for a good cause. Ebaying some of my good stuff for charity.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Felice Brothers Steal the Show at Master Musicians Festival

The Felice Brothers
Moonage Webdream Blog
Lately it seems I’ve been complaining a lot about modern performers. I’m not even going to use the term musicians. Too many bands don’t make any effort to be original. They stick with the same instruments, some not at all. They have degrading lyrics, a bad message if any, and make no attempt whatsoever to make their music, product, unique. Every so often I stumble on exceptions I wish would be the front page of Rolling Stone. But, never are. Along with Cowboy Crush and Bonepony, The Felice Brothers are a show to see.

The Felice Brothers performing at Master Musician Festival

Now, that doesn’t look like much I know. Just a bunch of guys playing a small stage in rural Kentucky. But, they were a hoot. Sort of a cross of Bluegrass with a touch of rock and a dash of rap. I guarantee you this is the only act today rapping to a washboard. And that’s the start of their creativity. These guys are just fun all the way around. You feel it, you see it, you hear it, you just know it. I immediately noticed two things that made me know these guys are the real thing:

1. For reasons unknown to me, people started throwing cigarettes on stage. My friend I was standing with thought they were joints and immediately started rummaging through his stuff to find his. I finally convinced him they were cigarettes. Only bands that are convincing will get a grown ( sorta ) adult to do stupid things enthusiastically.
2. Although using a modern keyboard, it was propped in what looked like an old keyboard wooden box. Like the cheap little five octave pianos people used to tour with. The washboard in a dizzying jig fell backwards and knocked the whole thing over. Without missing a beat, the keyboard player picked up his accordian and took it from there while they ( band members ), repaired the keyboard stand, sorta. Only good bands can keep going during disaster.
3. The drummer only had a tom and a snare besides the usual bass and cymbals. He only used the tom during those very special moments when they stressed something important. Great bands don’t need a lot of flashy drum parts. It needs noting as well the washboard player destroyed the entire set at the end. I’m sure that was his tribute to The Who. Great bands also recognize those that set the stage for them.
4. The people sang along with them. These weren’t great lyrics. They were neither inspiring or exciting. They were for the most part just kinda silly. People who I’m sure had never seen these guys before were singing along with them. That to me is a sign that people relate to what the band is doing.
5. My six year old boy loved them. He’s seen a lot of performances. He’s not easily swayed. He enjoyed these guys a lot.
6. More importantly, I am glad my six year old enjoyed them. Too many lyrics today are just embarassing. You didn’t hear anything degrading, demeaning, or any profanity. As goofy and fun as they were, they kept it clean. The whole family enjoyed it. Their lyrics were clever. They were funny. I wouldn’t mind my boy singing their stuff any time he wanted, anywhere he was. That’s a rarity these days.
7. Too many performers today go to great lengths to be as ugly as they can possibly be. People pierce their lips, their nose, they wear only one color ( black ), and get nasty looking tattoos to prove they’re the baddest, meanest, musician that ever graced planet Earth. These guys don’t need any of that crap, and they know it. They just truly are ugly. However, when you wear ugly well, it’s a lot more impressive than being a pretty boy who can’t wear that well. Mick Jagger was incredibly ugly with his scraggly face marked with aging lines by the time he was a teenager. These guys are ugly in that kind of way. You got Mick Jagger ugly, you got John Belushi ugly, you got it all. They wear it well, sorta.

You get the idea by now. I like these guys. Do me, them, and yourself a favor and check out their stuff. This ain’t grunge, it ain’t metal, it ain’t rap, it ain’t country, it ain’t what I would call anything traditional. Coming from me, that’s the best compliment you can get. Keep it real guys. Please.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Update: Bidding now at $51. Big bonus if Bidding goes over $80

Updating: if we can get the bidding over $80 i will add in a very nice surpise bonus to this package , and if it goes over $100 i will add two nice bonus' to this package. I will have a letter furnished for your tax deduction as well. Why give it to the government? Give to the kids and get a nice something for yourself I also added an Autographed Bruce Springsteen Album "Born in the USA" in a seperate auction

LIsting on EBAY

This item was signed by the band specifically for this auction.

To benefit the Safe Haven Project

One of the main missions of the Safe Haven Project is to find the ways and means to reach out to young people living with HIV or AIDS. One way of acheiving this is through the "Camp Safe Haven" and "Vineyard Project" camp programs. These camp style retreats have occurred annually since Safe Haven^s inception.

Camps are hosted on the beautiful island of Martha's Vineyard each April, and now in North Carolina in August.

Campers attend at no cost to their families due to the kind donations we receive from businesses, foundations, and individuals.

A goal of camp is to connect the campers with a greater community comprised of their peers, our volunteers, and the community around them. Camp is a stigma-free environment that encourages fun, camaraderie, and mutual support.

Those who volunteer at a Camp Safe Haven event quite often describe the experience as "life-changing"; one that has powerful impact on their view of the world, and service.

If you are interested in this item, please bid on it. and bid twice as much. Its for a good cause. Help out this organization. thank you.

here is the link to the Bruce Springsteen auction

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Duke and the King -Maverick

The Felice Brothers have seen a period of rapid ascendancy and virtual universal praise heaped upon them by those in the know, in the music press. Currently on a sell out US tour, the band will play to packed houses wherever they appear, such is the fever they imbue. It comes as some surprise therefore, to find that one of their key song writers and band members should pick this time to pursue a personal project and take a hiatus from touring with the band. Americana UK’s Alan Taylor spoke to Simone Felice – poet, author, drummer, wild-eyed guitarist and now front man for the newly formed The Duke & The King. Quietly sipping tea in true rock n’ roll style, with band members Rob ‘Chicken’ Burke and Nowell Haskins in a cafĂ© in Shepherds Bush, Felice elaborated on his sabbatical from the Brothers and his plans for the near future.

Leaving his Brothers was clearly an emotional wrench, but after a winter of personal tragedy, detailed on his Myspace ‘open letter’ which culminated in the loss of his unborn child, it seemed that Simone (pronounced without the ‘e’) needed to break free and find his own personal artistic outlet. So, with long time friend and collaborator Rob, who had suffered his own personal upheavals, they took to the tranquil creeks in the woods (literally – as is the method these days – witness Bon Iver et al) and spent time in a little wooden cabin, in their beloved Catskill Mountains. With little more than a copy of ‘Huckleberry Finn’ and a small wood stove to scratch the lyrics and the harmonies onto (or so the legend goes . . .) they produced, NOTHING GOLD CAN STAY (due for release in July on Loose Records) which simply has to be the must have album of the year so far – simple, guitar and drum based country-soul, imperfect, yet incredibly catchy and with a beat that just stays in your head forever. The songs are timeless yet have so much to say. Brothers Felice and Ian in particular with his scratchy voice, have already been compared to Dylan by many writers – to the point where the ‘D’ word is banned from interviews these days, but the writing is so real, so basic, yet so poetic that the songs fascinate and resonate at every level.

Levon’s Midnight Rambles
Growing up in the Catskills with their Mother after their Dad “split”, Felice recalled that Blue by Joni Mitchell, was perhaps the song he learnt by osmosis, his mother played it so much. So with musical influences therefore, ranging from Joni Mitchell, Crosby Stills Nash and Young through to Prince, Jackson Five, Sly and The Family Stone and the Beatles, this is an altogether more relaxed, soulful and personal affair than the Felice Brothers’ output. An author of some repute himself, with one collection of poetry and two books – ‘Goodbye Amelia’ and ‘Hail Mary Full of Holes’ – to his name. He cites various influences, from Hemingway, Edgar Allan Poe, William Faulkner and Walt Whitman, but massively instrumental it seems, was the book that Simone just reads and reads, Mark Twain’s – Huckleberry Finn – which contains the characters, from whom the band took their name. Simone generously crowning ‘Chicken’ with the lofty position of King, but qualifying that decision by explaining that the King was the “older and crazier of the two in the book, whilst the Duke was the young, handsome one”. It is clear that these two from the land of Rip Van Winkle, consider themselves poetic, adventuring renegade troubadours, who like to experience life to the full and “feel the magic and the magnetic fields that guide us”, putting all that energy into the songs. The area they hail from – Palenville – is an area of legend for many reasons and the proximity of Woodstock and the likes of Levon Helm (of ‘Band’ fame) who recently invited the boys to his ‘midnight ramble’ music event, illustrates the level of recognition they have received. Finding himself in demand outside of his Duke & The King/Felice Brothers work, Simone has recently worked with the award winning Avett Brothers, playing a little of his trademark “nasty drum” on a couple of tracks from their new album, following a random phone call from Rick Rubin. He has also had the pleasure of working with AA Bondy a close family friend who “made his record in Grandfather’s garage”, he elaborates – “yes, we are special friends and when he comes over I always ask him to play the song American Hearts so that I can sing along, it’s just so much fun.”

A swing at Reagan
A previous foray into fronting a band with the ‘Big Empty’, who famously used John Lennon’s old piano, revealed a political side to Simone’s thinking and writing which comes out in both the book and the new material on the album. He leaves no stone unturned in his broadside against the lost idealism of the Great American State – on the beautifully sad, One More American Song – which details the downward spiral of American mores in a most picaresque and tragic style. On Union Street a story of stoned teenagers growing up in a cruel city, the lines “meet me there in the parking lot // In that part of town that Jesus forgot // and bring those pills y’ stole from y’ma // We’ll be here, we’ll be here, and we’ll be gone, we’ll be long gone,” paint a picture that lives on in the mind long after the melody has faded away. Simone himself makes no secret of his political rambling, which is clearly apparent in the book Hail Mary Full Of Holes, which portrays with incredible imagery, a particularly harsh and sordid side of American society during the Ronald Reagan era. However, the musical output is not protest singing in the Dylan style, rather just a painting of pastel images for the listener to muse on – poetry set to music. “We were all (the Felice Brothers) pretty much just poets in the first instance” explained Simone. “Then we had to learn to play our instruments and sing and harmonise together in the subways in New York, then gradually we got a gig or two and things moved on from there”.

The kids aren’t alright
So just why do these timeless, almost old-fashioned, cracked, painful songs seem to be resonating with the youth of today? At this point the fairly relaxed, people watching George Clinton collaborator ‘Chicken’ Burke, was galvanised into action, “Well we want to make this musical poetry, we want to roll down the river, we want to work outside the boxes, we may get ostracised, we may get tarred and feathered (like the characters in the book) but we’re gonna work outside the system, we’re gonna dream, take a chance, take a beautiful chance” In producer mode now and animated, Burke was on a roll, “the kids today they’re starting to realise they’ve been conned, we started building this material together in the post 9/11 era, when Imagine by John Lennon was banned in the US. We decided we would rather be poor and sing songs by the river, than enter into a life of conformity.” Elaborating further and animated at last, “this work has hardly been cleaned up at all, no pitch corrections and most of it recorded on 2 inch tape (you can almost hear the tape rolling on I’ve Been Bad – which features Burke on lead vocal), perhaps that is why the kids are beginning to realise that this is real – not some sort of perfect world MTV garbage and I really think that is beginning to happen. The identity crisis amongst the youth in the US has reached epidemic proportions, it’s heart breaking, they need something real, they’ve spent so much time on ‘Twitter’ and watching cable, surfing the internet – but they’ve never jumped in a creek, floated on a raft, felt the wind; they’re lost – living in a disinfected world with a condom on – and we’ve come to save them.” Smiling, with a sense of satisfaction he sat back, sipped his tea and returned to his compulsive people-watching mode. Burke and Felice are both great lovers of spring time; the smells the sounds, the sights. Burke was literally drinking in the spring time in London, like he needed it as oxygen, he claimed that “this spring time is just so amazing, man” we debated whether he was really just seeing a little more during a period of intense creativity . . . he closed his eyes under the shadow of his baseball cap for a moment, mused and just simply smiled.

Hail the King
Felice Brothers’ live shows would see Simone standing on the drum kit and clambering over the monitors, as if trying to get closer to, or perhaps become part of the audience and picking up a guitar to deliver a wild eyed demonic rendition of The Devil Is Real, so scary and so close to the edge (literally), that you could feel the tension. It comes as no surprise to find this natural showman becoming the front man of his own ensemble. Did he feel the need for more artistic control and expression? The answer was a clear and unequivocal “yes . . . all of those life changing events left me with so much to say” he explained, “ I just needed to get it all out and that’s where Rob and the time by the creeks and the cabin came in”. With just four shows in total so far and only two in Europe, one at the Bush Hall (after a night on their tour manager’s floor) and the other in Madrid, the boys go back to rehearsals prior to a bigger tour in the UK later in the year incorporating the ‘End Of The Road Festival’. “We wanted to get ourselves over here to get a little pre-tour publicity and then hit the ground running with a full on Tour in the fall”. If the Bush Hall event is anything to go by, this will be a must see event for those of that particular persuasion, and by that I mean real music lovers with passion in their souls, who like to see the cracks and imperfections in a song delivered with full on emotion. The rendition of Your Belly In My Arms for obvious reasons left barely a dry eye in the audience of hardened media hacks. His entry into the audience during a frenzied Lose Myself – was simply a matter of time, this is a man who needs to connect with the people and for him drumming and writing just isn’t enough. This will be simply, a ‘don’t miss’ tour! Hail The King, and may the poetry continue to rise forth “magnetically” from the Duke. As Neil McCormick music writer for the Telegraph so rightly said, “these songs are good enough to be sung by the whole world – spread the word.” Take a listen for yourself, this is brave, this is real, these boys shine like a light!

Thinking Outside the Box: Musicians Explore Other Art Forms (Simone Felice mention)

Thinking Outside the Box: Musicians Explore Other Art Forms
Posted by Alex Shoaf on July 7th, 2009

Given Jack White’s notoriously frenetic and easily distracted music career, few were surprised to hear about the Dead Weather, his rock-band-du-jour. Perhaps more unpredictable is the recent announcement of White’s cameo in the upcoming Mutant Swinger From Mars, a sci-fi spin-off to be aired at San Diego’s Comic-Con Film Festival (July 23-26). Though the film rapped over a decade ago, it has taken time for this non-musical incarnation of White to reach the masses.

Musicians do occasionally enjoy applying their creative genius to media other than music. You have probably heard about Bob Dylan’s poetry and artwork selling for thousands at Christie’s. You might have heard about David Byrne designing New York City’s new bike racks or converting an old ferry terminal into a giant instrument. However, you may not have known that David Berman (formerly of Silver Jews) recently produced a book of cartoons called The Portable February, or that Simone Felice (Felice Brothers, The Duke & the King) is an acclaimed novelist, who wrote Goodbye Amelia: Fictions. When musicians are not performing, writing, or recording, they explore their world by other means.

While performing affords songwriters the opportunity to revisit old tunes, the songs themselves are limited by long-standing conventions and impatient audiences. For Felice, fiction is an outlet that is at once personal and permanent, with no restrictions on space or time. In taking a break from his brothers’ band, he told fans, “I’ve been writing a lot this past year, and seeing as my role in the band was always more of a supportive one, I’ve been compelled to find a vehicle that would help me be able to share all these new songs and stories.” Musicians rely on these “vehicles” to remain in motion as artists and as people.

Speaking of vehicles, Neil Young is notorious for his car fetish. When he is off the road, he is likely working on one of his vintage rides. In addition to being a motorhead, Young is an outspoken environmentalist. His most recent record, Fork In The Road, is a concept album about a cross-country road trip in his homemade electric car. It is perhaps most remarkable when artists are able to integrate several media or interests in order to locate a unifying theme.

As constant touring and recording can become almost dehumanizing, taking time to explore from another angle is crucial to any artist’s imaginative growth. An act as simple as checking out the parking lot after a gig can make any music career more meaningful. In Ashes of American Flags, Wilco enthusiasts can catch a glimpse of multi-instrumentalist Pat Sansone snapping Polaroids in a deserted lot. Sansone is as enamored with Polaroid as he is with the blue-collar backdrop of his tour. He explains, “It’s been interesting going around the country and going into small towns because a lot of what I like to shoot is little details of old downtowns…capturing these little pieces of a fading America with a fading technology.”

Just as a Polaroid exposure begins to fade soon after it magically appears, so too can an artist’s interest or ability atrophy into disappointment and mediocrity. Flexing other expressive muscles gives a musician a chance to expand or redefine a body of work. While our favorite musicians continue to tinker, some may grow anxious that the glorious music will never return. We can be reassured by a caption under one of David Berman’s new cartoons, “Don’t worry, it’s just a phase.”

The Guardian (UK) gives Nothing Gold Can Stay 4 Stars

For his first release since leaving the Felice Brothers, Simone Felice - partnered by Robert Burke - has taken his new band's name from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. That might lead one to conclude that this is a back-to-the-porch record, unencumebered by acquaintance with modernity. Not so: if anything, this is the musical equivalent of one of those converted barns you see in Country Living magazine, in which the lovingly restored original beams are complemented by the latest designer kitchen. In fact, this might be the single most tasteful record of the year - former Notorious BIG producer Bassy Bob Brockman's mixing being the new kitchen to Felice and Burke's weathered beams. That's not to damn with faint praise, for on the likes of One More American Song, the harsh writing about an embittered veteran provides the tart twist necessary to undercut the gentle melancholy of the music. It can go wrong, though - Waterspider, with its amiable nods to "freedom fighters" and its assertion that "Jesus waked on water/ But so did Marvin Gaye" is Laurel Canyon smugness writ large for a new generation.

Michael Hahn

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Esquire votes The Felice Brothers as one of the Top 9 Live Bands

This is what they had to say

The Band-era Bob Dylan and Tom Waits are the obvious musical templates for these Catskills-based misfits. That they embody them live is the impressive part. Both their tender ballads and Appalachian stomps devolve into feverish jams that threaten to collapse onto themselves (taking the accordion with them). But they always get reeled back in.

the Felice Brothers joined the list with such acts as Pearl Jam, The Black Keys, White Rabbits, Bon Iver and the Roots.

Read more:

The Felice Brothers on

Felice Brothers learned to improvise
By Walter Tunis Contributing Music Writer

The Felice Brothers have gotten a lot more notice since the release of their self-titled album last year, their first for a record label. Next month, they start a tour for their latest CD.

if you go

Master Musicians Festival

When: July 17-18.

Where: Festival Field of Somerset Community College, 808 Monticello St., Somerset.

Tickets: $12.50-$37.50; call (606) 677-2933 or 1-866-972-9686, or go to

Complete schedule, Page E4

Master Musicians Festival


July 17

6 p.m.: No Tale Lights

7 p.m.: The Lee Boys

8:45 p.m.: Richie Havens

10:15 p.m.: Scythian

July 18

1 p.m.: The New Familiars

2 p.m.: Dixie Bee Liners

3:15 p.m.: The Bleu Edmondson Band

4:30 p.m.: The Steve Johnson Band

5:45 p.m.: The Greencards

7:15 p.m.: The Felice Brothers

9 p.m.: Mike Farris and the Roseland Rhythm Review

10:45 p.m.: The Duhks

The trouble started right about sundown, just as the Felice Brothers took the stage. That's when the power went out.

Thus, the coarse, celebratory music of the ensemble — a family band from upstate New York that blends modern and Appalachian folk, zydeco, blues, primitive country and more into a Band-like roots-music quilt with sometimes-punkish leanings — was left without any power. Well the Felices always have power to spare. They just had no amplification to shove behind it when facing a hearty Friday-evening crowd at last year's Christ the King Oktoberfest.

But industrious natives of New York's Catskills that they are, the brothers redefined the term unplugged and played guitars, washboards and drums right in the middle of the crowd in the instruments' natural, unamped state.

Sure, if you were more than 10 feet from the players, you couldn't hear a thing. But if you were in front and at the feet of the Felice Brothers, the sense of immediacy and ingenuity surrounding busted-up spirituals like Saved and Reverend Mr. Black was overpowering.

The Felices overcame the blackout conditions so readily that one had to think the band was accustomed to such emergencies. Sure enough, it had dealt with a similar outage a month earlier at the prestigious Newport Folk Festival.

"I guess all that prepared us pretty well for Lexington," accordionist James Felice said. "We've dealt with things like that before. We just sensed that the crowd wanted to hear our music, so we worked things out the only way we could. I mean, it's the crowd's show, after all. Not ours."

The band formed when the three eldest of seven Felice children (James, percussionist/vocalist Simone and guitarist/ vocalist Ian) teamed with two family pals (bassist Christmas Clapton and fiddler Greg Farley) and began playing rural-flavored folk, blues and country at family barbecues. From there, they found steady work by busking in subway stations near Brooklyn and New York's Greenwich Village.

"Where we grew up was just this poor community in upstate New York, a place pretty indistinguishable from, say, any sort of small Appalachian town," James Felice said. "The countryside is really the same. So was the poverty.

"Musically, our inspirations came more from the radio. There were some great songwriters and great bands that came from the Catskills. But most of the music we listened to growing up came from the South — from Mississippi, Alabama and, of course, Kentucky. We were really into the music that was going on down in your part of the world.

The band began recording and releasing independent recordings in 2006. 2007's Adventures of The Felice Brothers, Vol. 1, was recorded live to two tracks in a chicken coop.

A self-titled album last year for the Team Love label began to widen the word on the Felices, making the band a staple of jam-band clubs and festivals. The notoriety increased after a brief tour last winter with fellow acoustic-roots revisionist troupe Old Crow Medicine Show. In April came a new album, Yonder Is the Clock. The title comes from the deadly forewarning of a fortune teller in Mark Twain's The Mysterious Stranger.

"The other records we did were done very much in piecemeal fashion," Felice said. "We would record a couple of songs whenever we had the time. Here, we knew we actually were going to have the time to make an album, a real collection of songs.

"We also knew we were going to be making a record that people might actually get to hear. On the last few records, we didn't really know what the hell was going to happen with them."

One thing the Felices can count on happening in August is a nine-city trek dubbed the Big Surprise Tour, named after Yonder Stands the Clock's sleepy, summery leadoff tune. Completing the bill will be Old Crow Medicine Show, the David Rawlings Machine featuring Gillian Welch, and Justin Townes Earle. The tour will play Louisville's Waterfront Park on Aug. 12.

(The night before the Louisville show, Simone Felice, who is sitting out the summer with the band, will perform at Southgate House in Newport with his new acoustic Americana pop project, The Duke and the King.)

"We were really excited when the idea first came up, even though we didn't even know if it would even be possible to get everybody together," James Felice said of the upcoming tour. "It will be an honor to play with these folks.

"Tours like this tell us that we're reaching more people. We're definitely doing much better than we were a year or two ago. Of course, we always want to be able to play in front of more people and maybe even make a dollar or two along the way because we're all still so friggin' broke.

"Still, this is an amazing job to have. I don't mind being a little bit poor if I can just keep doing this for the rest of my life. But the more people that hear our music, the better."

The Duke and the King Descend on the Mercury Lounge

Alternative (2009-07-14)
The Duke & The King Descend On NYC's Mercury Lounge, Aug 4, For Album Release Show
New York (Top40 Charts/ Shore Fire Media) - The Duke & The King will celebrate the release of their critically acclaimed debut, 'Nothing Gold Can Stay' (Ramseur Records) on August 4th at NYC's Mercury Lounge. Comprised of Simone Felice (Felice Brothers) and Robert "Chicken" Burke (George Clinton), The Duke & The King previewed tunes from the new record at Brooklyn's intimate Union Hall (May '09), where fans swayed and hummed to the Duke's intoxicating vocals and the King's loping swagger. Between songs their banter welcomed audience members into a profound friendship that has yielded the creative force of a "classic" (The Times, UK).

WHO: The Duke & The King (aka Simone Felice & Robert "Chicken" Burke)
WHAT: Record release showcase
WHEN: August 4, 2009 / Doors @ 7pm, Show @ 10pm
WHERE: Mercury Lounge
217 E Houston (btw.
Ludlow & Essex)
TICKETS: $12 adv/$14 dos @

Buzz continues to grow - The Duke & The King will tape World Cafe and an NPR All Things Considered segment in the wake of an explosive European tour.
The London Telegraph called Simone Felice "the greatest singer-songwriter you've never heard," and Uncut magazine claims the record hits "the sweet spot between '70s FM radio and the boom years of Topanga Canyon."

Monday, July 13, 2009

Auction Item: Signed Copy of The Felice Brothers


This item was signed by the band specifically for this auction.

To benefit the Safe Haven Project

One of the main missions of the Safe Haven Project is to find the ways and means to reach out to young people living with HIV or AIDS. One way of acheiving this is through the "Camp Safe Haven" and "Vineyard Project" camp programs. These camp style retreats have occurred annually since Safe Haven^s inception.

Camps are hosted on the beautiful island of Martha's Vineyard each April, and now in North Carolina in August.

Campers attend at no cost to their families due to the kind donations we receive from businesses, foundations, and individuals.

A goal of camp is to connect the campers with a greater community comprised of their peers, our volunteers, and the community around them. Camp is a stigma-free environment that encourages fun, camaraderie, and mutual support.

Those who volunteer at a Camp Safe Haven event quite often describe the experience as "life-changing"; one that has powerful impact on their view of the world, and service.

If you are interested in this item, please bid on it. and bid twice as much. Its for a good cause. Help out this organization. thank you.

Penn Station from Surf Lodge

Provided by our great friend Sean at who does a great job on all good music from Wilco, Conor Oberst, to the Felice Brothers and the Raconteurs. Check it out terrific site.

Cafe Nine New Haven 7/12/09

Here is a quick review from the CT show last night:

I arrived at the the bar Cafe Nine around 7 when they were schedule to go on at 9. The bar was relatively small compared to where I have seen the brothers play before. Capacity was only about 150 and it did get crowded. I think this was the first time that they played in CT or at least in the New Haven area. It was good to see that their are many die hard Felice Brothers in CT. Ian came on stage a little after 9 and opening with "In the Arms of Buffalo Bill." After the solo number, Ian asked "where the fuck his band was." From that point on they were on fire and did not slow down till the show was over. The first few rows of people knew every word to every song and were constantly buying drinks for the band which the brothers enjoyed throughout the show. Overall every member of the band sounded great. Farley's fiddle was on point, Ian let loose with some really intricate guitar solos, and even with the extremely small stage James was able to play some serious accordion riffs. This was the first show that I saw Dave play the entire set and he held his own. You could tell that he really enjoys playing with the group and is just as passionate about the songs as the rest of them. Highlights for me were "Let Me Come Home," "Swine Flu," "Murder by Mistletoe" and "Cooperstown" which I had been dying to hear since "Yonder is the Clock" was released, and finally Farley's crowd surfing. He had no room to dive into the drum set at the the end of "Penn Station" so he went head on into the audience. It was a great performance and definitely converted any new listeners there last night into full blown fans.

Here's the setlist of what I can remember and probably a little out of order:
In the Arms of Buffalo Bill
Take This Bread
Love Me Tenderly
Murder by Mistletoe
Cincinnati Queen
Greatest Show on Earth
Whiskey in My Whiskey
Whered You Get Your Liquor
Wonderful Dream
Hey Hey Revolver
Farley's Song
Goddamn You Jim
Memphis Flu (Swine Flu)
Run Chicken Run
Let Me Come Home

Two Hands
Penn Station

Jared Riviere

The Felice Brothers at the Surf Lodge, Montauk NY 7-11-09

Notes: highlights were Farley's Song which was tight for second night in a row, the celebratory Loves me Tenderly and Two Hands, and Take this Bread. Beach Balls flew around for the first half of show, apparently to the aggravation of Ian, who had a couple of zingers for what he called the "hoity-toities". When one character resembling Neidermeir from Animal House tried to climb onto the banister of the porch, only to be rebuffed by his own innebriation, Ian sneered, "I thought we were at Spring Break". Neverless, fans were converted, many people came up to ask about the band and about the Take This Bread t shirts. The band did dedicate a couple numbers for me which was very kind. Montauk was very beautiful, and I would go again, but the crowd was a bit different.

Murder by Mistletoe
Take This Bread
Show on Earth
Wonderful Dream
Loves me Tenderly
White Limo
River Jordan
Run Chicken Run
Hey Hey Revolver
Farleys Song
Frankies Gun
Let Me Come Home
Where'd you Get the Liquor?

Two Hands
Penn Station

Probably missed a couple as I often do. I had a lot of fun. Lots of Breadheads/frankiesgun cats there. Crowd was decidedly unfelice. It was an electric show, much to the chagrin of management I am sure. Great venue, if not for the crowd of William Kennedy Smith types, show was puncuated by Dave Turbevilles plunge into the water.

Club Helsinki: July 10

Setlist: (James thought it was first time they actually followed it.)

Big Surprise
Greatest show
Take this Bread
Wonderful Dream (world debut Ian on vocals)
Run Chicken
White Limo
Helen Fry
Damn u jim
River Jordan
Murder by Mistletoe
Farley Song
Loves me tenderly
Memphis Flu
Let me come home

St Stephen
Two Hands (featuring wild dancing by a fan named Nora, I think, with Ian in the crowd and on stage. )
Penn Station

First full show with Dave Turbeville on drums, who did nicely.
Ian also danced with member Heather Dear during the show.
Scared to see them after they got savaged by Ammuse's review from the homecoming show.
They were as. Good as they ever have been.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

American Songwriter loves The Duke and The King

While the Felice Brothers have been enjoying the recent success of Yonder is the Clock, eldest brother Simone Felice has kept himself busy with his new duo, The Duke & The King. Felice (The Duke) enlisted the help of former George Clinton collaborator Robert “Chicken” Burke (The King) this winter, when the two sequestered themselves in a one-room shack in New York’s Catskill Mountains. The recording process, evocative of Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago, involved wintry isolation and a two-inch tape machine. Once the snow finally melted, the pair had effectively captured what a press release calls the “bucolic calm” of Nothing Gold Can Stay (out August 4 on Ramseur Records).

The album’s mixing and mastering was interestingly entrusted to “Bassy” Bob Brockman (Notorious B.I.G.). The resulting sound is described as “fusing unlikely elements of blue-eyed soul, Topanga Canyon cool, and Marc Bolan-esque acoustic reverie.” Neil McCormick of The Telegraph raves, “It’s a kind of cracked country soul thing, with a dash of psychedelia, and at the heart of it are Simone’s songs which are, honestly, the best I have heard in a while, touching the hem of Dylan by way of Gordon Lightfoot.”

The Duke & The King’s name is, as you might have guessed, an allusion to Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Felice explains, “Among other things the name is a reminder, a sort of scarlet letter we’re happy to paint over our hearts to help us keep it honest: the music, the poetry.” The band’s sound, as idiosyncratic as its name and history, is perhaps the product of a winter that Felice calls, “a time of tragedy, sadness, and regeneration.” On the other hand, it might just be the work of two dreamers. Burke says of the albums first single, “The Morning I Get To Hell”, “I was thinking about the lies we tell ourselves, the lies we tell the people we love most, and how good at it we have become as a nation of people. If there is such a place, will it be as Dante dreamed? Maybe not. I saw a ferris wheel, a dance party, a TV screen, such a simple biting emptiness, and from the loud speaker all along that cheap drum machine forever.”

Having already toured the UK, the twosome is enjoying considerable acclaim. After seeing them for the first time, McCormick lauded, “There is a boldness to Simone’s writing, the fierceness and fearlessness of complete honesty that pushes them into places that simply take the breath away…When he tells stories from his own life he goes to places few artists ever touch…These songs are good enough to be sung by the whole world, if only people got to hear them.” A select few will get to hear them on a limited-run August tour through the States.

The Duke & The King Tour Dates:

August 1- Woodstock, NY @ The Colony Cafe

August 2- Cambridge, MA @ Club Passim

August 3- Philadelphia, PA @ Chapel at First Unitarian Church

August 4- New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge

August 6- Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506

August 7- Atlanta, GA @ Eddie’s Attic

August 8- Birmingham, AL @ Bottletree

August 10- Nashville, TN @ The Basement

August 11- Newport, KY @ Southgate House (Parlour)

August 13- Indianapolis, IN @ Locals Only

August 14- Chicago, IL @ Schubas

August 15- Pittsburgh, PA @ Club Cafe

August 16- Arlington, VA @ IOTA Club and Cafe

Saturday, July 4, 2009

If You Ever Get Famous fan video (Michael Jackson tribute)


Quick review from The Duke and The King show in Buffalo

It was an electric show. He played a lot considering he was an opener. He opened with a michael jackson nod with the man in the mirror. In no particular order he also played, scarecrow, radio song, waterspider, if you ever get famous, the morning i get to hell,still remember love, and neil young covers for a big canadian crowd with long may you run, and helpless. He also did lean on me. I am sure I forgot something. It was really great and although I have met simone in the past, he was really friendly to everyone around. Lots of hugs and handshakes. I wish I could see them do a full set,the closest they are coming to me again is pittsburgh, but I am getting married that day.oh and he did the devil is real, all in all awesome. he had the deacon backing him and it was like church. I only wish more people would have known the material, but on the bright side it seemed a lot of people were picking up the albums so hopefully simone reached some folks that day. -TUKF

We also know two big fans showed up too late for the show, and Simone and Robert took them into the dressing room and played a couple of tunes acapella for them since they drove all the way to see them. They said even though they missed the show they had a great time and they were treated great.