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Hailing from the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York, the Felice Brothers blend folk, Americana, and revivalist roots rock into a uniquely earthy sound. Brothers Ian, Simone, and James Felice grew up in the Hudson River Valley, several miles away from the musical hamlet of Woodstock. Such icons as Bob Dylan and the Band once found inspiration in the region, and the Felice youngsters were driven by a similar muse, gathering every Sunday afternoon for jam sessions and cookouts at their father's house. As their skills improved, the brothers opted to leave the Catskills and relocate to New York City.
With James playing accordion, Simone playing drums, Ian handling guitar/vocal duties, and a former dice-playing friend named Christmas Clapton on bass, the quartet held informal performances in subway stations while hawking its debut album, 2006's Through These Reigns and Gone. Recorded in a chicken coop by the bandmates themselves, the album was rough and imperfect, as was the follow-up effort, Tonight at the Arizona. Such a distinct, ramshackle sound found a quick audience, however, particularly after the band toured alongside Bright Eyes and participated in one of Levon Helm's Midnight Ramble performances in late 2007. The new year brought similar luck, as the Felice Brothers inked a deal with Team Love Records and released a self-titled LP in early 2008. Several rounds of touring followed, including festival stops at Bonnaroo, All Points West, Mountain Jam, and the Newport Folk Festival (where an afternoon rainstorm cut power to the stage, resulting in an impromptu acoustic performance in the mud). The Felice Brothers then returned to the studio, emerging in 2009 with Yonder Is the Clock. More touring followed, including stints with Old Crow Medicine Show, Justin Townes Earle, and the Dave Matthews Band, culminating in the release of a new long-player, Celebration, Florida in 2011.
The Felice Brothers are a folk rock/country rock band from New York founded in 2006.Bumgardner, Ed, 8 November 2007, 'Music Notes: Felice Brothers are earthy, their music visceral' Relish Now!.
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The Felice Brothers got their start as a band playing in the New York City subway. The sons of a carpenter, they would play together on Sundays at their father's afternoon barbecues. They stayed in a little apartment in Brooklyn and would play in the subway stations at 42nd Street and Union Square and in Greenwich Village. The three brothers originally hail from Palenville, New York in the Catskill Mountains.
Now they tour the country, traveling in their "Short Bus". Their 2006 self-released debut album was Through These Reins and Gone followed by Tonight At the Arizona released in 2007. Through These Reins and Gone made it onto Radio Woodstock WDST's top 25 albums of 2006. About their album Adventures of the Felice Brothers Vol. 1 James Felice said, "We put one record out on an English label, and we've released all the other stuff ourselves" (on their label 'New York Pro'). The Felice Brothers have played at Levon Helm's Midnight Ramble in Woodstock, New York and also toured with Bright Eyes in the fall of 2007.
On January 7, it was announced The Felice Brothers had signed a record deal with Team Love Records. They toured the United States extensively during the spring (February through mid-April), to promote their new album. The Brothers played at Mountain Jam at Hunter Mountain again this year. They also played at the 2008 Clearwater Festival, Bonnaroo in Manchester, Tennessee, the Philadelphia Folk Festival in Schwenksville, Pennsylvania, All Points West Music and Arts Festival at Liberty State Park in Jersey City, and Outside lands music and arts festival in San Francisco, the latter two festivals being inaugural events.
In August, the band performed at the legendary Newport Folk Festival. Due to torrential rains, high winds, and lightning storms, power was cut to the entire Newport, Rhode Island area. As the stage the band was performing on had no generators, the band played unplugged. They performed for over an hour with such songs as "Frankie's Gun!" and a sing-a-long to "This Land Is Your Land".
The Felice Brothers joined Old Crow Medicine Show, Justin Townes Earle and the Dave Rawlings Machine for a nine-city package tour called The Big Surprise Tour, after the lead track from the Yonder is the Clock album. Kicking off on August 4, 2009 at the Casino Ballroom in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire, the tour travelled around the eastern United States before wrapping up at the World's Fair Park in Knoxville, Tennessee, on August 14, 2009.
The Felice Brothers opened for the Dave Matthews Band at four concerts in Canada and the US, starting at the Molson Amphitheatre in Toronto on June 1, 2010. They also appeared at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco on October 3. In late September and early October the band reunited for four shows with Conor Oberst. All the shows were in California. They appeared at the End of the Road Festival, Larmer Tree Gardens, Dorset, England in September.
The Felice Brothers released the single "Ponzi" on March 29. It was the first single from their newest album "Celebration, Florida" which released on May 10 on Fat Possum (USA) and May 23 on Loose Music in the UK.
The Felice Brothers released a collection of songs on July 18 entitled "God Bless You, Amigo". It is a mixture of previously unreleased original songs and covers of classic folk songs. Shortly thereafter drummer Dave Turbeville was replaced by drummer David Estabrook.
On December 30, 2013, Dell launched their commercial called “Beginnings.” It was made by Y&R, New York advertising agency, and features a cover of The Drifters' hit "This Magic Moment" performed by The Felice Brothers.Fleming, Amy, 2007-11-26, 'We don't care if we suck', The Guardian. Lisle, Andria, 2 November 2007, 'Roots-revivalist wind propels earthy band', Comercialappeal. Barry, John W., 22 November 2007, 'Felice Brothers: Band enjoying living its music', Poughkeepsie Journal. Cite error: The named reference Bumgardner was invoked but never defined (see the help page). "Brotherly Love: Please Welcome the Felice Brothers!". Team Love Records. January 7, 2008. Retrieved April 11, 2011. Partridge, Kenneth (October 2008). "The Felice Brothers - backwoods bros go back to basics". The Deli Magazine. Retrieved April 11, 2011. "They ultimately settled on Team Love, and earlier this year, the label issued the band's first domestic full-length. The self-titled collection features a handful of new songs, as well as material from hard-to-find early releases, such as “The Adventures of the Felice Brothers, Vol. 1.”" Chinen, Nate (August 7, 2009). "A Friendly Stage for Roots Music". The New York Times. Retrieved April 11, 2011. http://www.theverge.com/2013/12/31/5261892/dell-touts-its-humble-startup-soul-in-new-beginnings-ad-spot
The band has five main members: Ian and James Felice, their friend Josh "Christmas Clapton" Rawson, previously a traveling dice player, fiddle player Greg Farley and drummer David Estabrook. At other times, they have featured a horn section in the band, composed of local Hudson Valley musicians. Ian is the main vocalist and plays the guitar and piano. James contributes vocals and plays the accordion, organ, and piano. Christmas plays the bass guitar. Simone Felice was the drummer as well as a vocalist and a guitarist. Simone is also an author, having released books entitled Goodbye Amelia, Hail Mary, Full of Holes and Black Jesus. Simone Felice left the Felice Brothers in 2009. He now leads his own band - The Duke & the King (named after the duo of con-artists in Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn) with Robert "Chicken" Burke. They released their debut album - Nothing Gold Can Stay on Ramseur Records August 4, 2009, followed by Long Live the Duke & King in 2010. Simone released a self-titled album in 2012, and followed that up with an album titled Strangers in 2014.