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Coffee Conversation: James Felice of The Felice Brothers

Felice Brothers

The Felice Brothers find themselves at the center of the resurgent interest in American roots music, equally at home around traditional bands like Old Crow Medicine Show, or rocking out in a crowded club. Their latest release, Favorite Waitress (2014) marks the first time they've recorded in a traditional studio environment - a far cry from their debut release Adventures of The Felice Brothers, Vol. 1, which was recorded in a chicken coop. 

Tomorrow night (June 4), the Felice Brothers will take the stage for a free SummerStage show in Red Hook Brooklyn, kicking off their summer tour. I recently had the chance to chat with founding member (and one of two Felice brothers) James Felice about music, life, and their rise from subway buskers to the major festival circuit.

On Kicking Off Their Tour in NYC: This will actually be first show in a while...We’re so excited, we love playing in NYC. It’s like a second home to us.”

On Playing Big Stages: “It’s does feel a little bit weird sometimes, but one thing it does remind us of is how lucky we are to be doing what we do.

On Having Eclectic Fans: “That’s the cool thing… you might find one guy who is way into punk rock, and others found us through more folk type music.”

On Influences and Inspiration: “Neil Young was our biggest inspiration.  His vibe and the way he approaches life…And, guys like Conor Oberst, who’s just a great musician. He’s really a songwriter's songwriter.”


On Brotherhood: “My brother writes most of the songs, and he’s an incredibly talented songwriter. But you know, it’s not just us.  It’s all about getting all of the guys in the band involved.  The whole scene is about brotherhood and family.”

On Playing Unplugged at the 2008 Newport Folk Festival: “So much fun! It was so funny, I barely remember it, but that's happened to us a bunch of times, in fact.  The power went out due to a storm, and we just you know… The show’s gotta go on.”

On What Really Matters: “It’s all about making music. That’s the biggest thing, to make the music. Making better records and playing better shows everywhere we go.  There’s no next levels we want, we just want to make great music…”