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Monday, May 30, 2011

May 26, 2011
Scott Foley

Have the Felice Brothers lost their mind (or at least their way)? After two to four albums (depending on which ones you count) of occasionally brilliant tunes recorded in cabins and chicken coops, their new Celebration Florida release firmly commits them to the studio. "Fire at the Pageant" adds a chorus of panicked schoolchildren. "Honda Civic" features a dance floor break. The first time I aired the lead single, "Ponzi" I did so with a caveat that the sound expressed on the new Felice Brothers song did not reflect the views ...

And yet, I couldn't stop listening to it. It started with the chorus of crickets behind the bare bones "Best I Ever Had". Then the gospel passion of "River Jordan". While there is no "Hey Hey Revolver" or "Wonderful Life" or even "Run Chicken Run", there is still the voice of Ian Felice. Despite the fact that almost anybody you play Felice Brothers for will mention Bob Dylan in the first 60 seconds (I don't see it ...), Ian is one of the most engaging vocalists in our kind of music.

So, Felice Brothers have lost nothing. By sticking with chicken songs, they risked typecasting. There's nothing wrong with messing with a good thing (just ask My Morning Jacket or Wilco), as long as those core passions are still driving the songs.

* Two Tons of Steel, "Vegas (live)" Live From Gruene Hall (Palo Duro, 06)
* Hayes Carll, "Bottle In My Hand" KMAG YOYO (& other american stories) (Lost Hwy, 11)
* Israel Nash Gripka, "Fool's Gold" Barn Doors & Concrete Floors (Self, 11)
* Haunted Windchimes, "Shadows & Pine (live)" Live At the Western Jubilee (Blank Tape, 11)
* Civil Wars, "Barton Hollow" Barton Hollow (Dualtone, 10)
* Jessica Lea Mayfield, "Nervous Lonely Night" Tell Me (Nonesuch, 11)
* Gillian Welch, "Tall Buildings (live)" Tribute to John Hartford Live From Mt Stage (Blue Plate, 01)
* Rod Picott, "410" Welding Burns (Welding Rod, 11)
* Those Darlins, "Screws Get Loose" Screws Get Loose (Oh Wow Dang, 11)
* Sallie Ford & the Sound Outside, "Poison Milk" Dirty Radio (Partisan, 11)
* Johnny Cash, "Personal Jesus" American IV: the Man Comes Around (American, 03)
* Slim Cessna's Auto Club, "A Smashing Indictment of Character" Unentitled (Alt Tentacles, 11)
* Avett Bros, "Die Die Die" Emotionalism (American, 07)
* Blackie & the Rodeo Kings, "Made of Love" Kings and Queens (File Under Music, 11)
* Exene Cervenka, "Turning With the World" Excitement of Maybe (Bloodshot, 11)
* Matraca Berg, "Racing the Angels" Dreaming Fields (Dualtone, 11)
* Roadside Graves, "Love Me More" We Can Take Care of Ourselves (Autumn Tone, 11)
* Amy Black, "Whiskey and Wine" One Time (Reuben, 11)
* Quiet American, "Black Jack Daisy" Quiet American Vol 2 (Self, 11)
* Robert Plant, "Harm's Swift Way" Band of Joy (Rounder, 10)
^ Felice Brothers, "Best I Ever Had" Celebration Florida (Fat Possum, 11)
* Jolie Holland, "Gold and Yellow" Pint of Blood (Anti, 11)
* Guy Clark, "Magdalene" Workbench Songs (Dualtone, 06)
* Ollabelle, "Be Your Woman" Neon Bird Blue (Self, 11)
* Decemberists, "January Hymn" King is Dead (Capitol, 11)
* Elliott BROOD, "Northern Air" Days Into Years (Self, 11)
* Low Anthem, "Apothecary Love" Smart Flesh (Nonesuch, 11)

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