Tag Archives: James Felice

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The Felice Brothers Bring New Music to Webster Hall Tomorrow

July 8th, 2014

The Felice Brothers—led by brothers Ian (vocals, guitar), James (accordion, organ and vocals) and Simone (drums, guitar and vocals)—originally from the Catskills in upstate New York, first got started by playing their dad’s barbecues. Eventually they made their way to Brooklyn and began busking in various New York City subway stations. Since then, their roots-rock sound has taken them to Mountain Jam, Bonnaroo even Levon Helm’s barn for one of his now-legendary Midnight Rambles. But as the group has grown in size and stature (although Simone has departed to front his own band), there’s been no shortage of recorded music. On their previous studio release, Celebration, Florida (stream it below), the group successfully mined new musical terrain, employing electronic and synth sounds (think: less Basement Tapes and more hip-hop). But the Felice Brothers (above, doing “Meadow of a Dream”) return to their earthy roots with the recently released Favorite Waitress (stream it below), out last month. American Songwriter declares, “This is challenging Americana that never takes its audience, or its influences, for granted.” And Consequence of Sound calls the album “a return to their bare-bones roots music,” while adding, “the Felice Brothers have elevated their songwriting without losing their rambunctious charm.” Of course, these guys are most well known for their rollicking live performances, and they just so happen to play Webster Hall tomorrow night. Gifted singer-songwriter Robert Ellis opens the show.

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Conor Oberst Doesn’t Disappoint

November 26th, 2012

Conor Oberst – Carnegie Hall – November 21, 2012


Outside Carnegie Hall last Wednesday, scalpers were offering tickets for Bright Eyes the night before Thanksgiving. What the what? Bright Eyes at Carnegie Hall? ’Twas true, as one Conor Oberst headlined a sold-out Stern Auditorium. From musical wunderkind to revered label chief, the 32-year-old’s long career was on full display in the famed hall’s confines. Covering material largely from his band, Bright Eyes, Oberst was dressed to the nines with a Calla lily boutonniere adorning his breast pocket and began his set solo with “The Big Picture.” Crooning the last line of the song from Lifted or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground, his vocals reverberated throughout the hall.

Joined by multi-instrumentalist Ben Brodin, Oberst introduced new material early on with “Common Knowledge.” Getting comfortable, he joked that it was great to kick back in a venue that reminded him of shows back in his hometown of Omaha, Neb. Adding more company on the vast stage, Oberst called upon Rachel Cox to accompany him on “Classic Cars,” and long-term Bright Eyes member, Nate Walcott, sneaked onstage unbeknownst to Oberst until Walcott seated himself with trumpet in hand for “Southern State.” The number was thoroughly enhanced with classical keys from the black Steinway, which was one of the most expected instruments at the hallowed venue. Having played “At the Bottom of Everything” in 2004 for the Tibet House Benefit Concert, Oberst revealed it wasn’t his first time performing at Carnegie Hall.

Women play a big part in Oberst’s songwriting canon, which was also the case with “You Are Your Mother’s Child,” a new song. With James Felice on accordion, Oberst continued his female-inspired musings, playing “Ten Women,” a song he described as being careful what you wish for. The oldie “Laura Laurent” was a fan favorite, although its material sadly chronicles Oberst’s struggles with his depression-stricken ex. Not to enshroud the setting with too much emo, he picked up the tempo, dedicating the Monsters of Folk ditty “Map of the World” to fellow Bright Eyes member Mike Mogis, who was absent for the night. Oberst rocked out as his long locks whipped with every guitar strum. Not to leave fans wanting more, his encore included “Lua,” with Cox filling in for Gillian Welch, “Make War,” and the Felice Brothers crew on “Waste of Paint,” leaving no one disappointed as they exited the lush, grand venue. —Sharlene Chiu