The Felice Brothers – Favorite Waitress
Originating from New York, quintet The Felice Brothers have been percolating folk and country rock via their gravelly vocal chords and cossetted instruments since 2006. Comprised of brothers Ian and James, plus friends John ‘Christmas Clapton’ Rawson, fiddle player Greg Farley and drummer David Eastbrook, the group’s music is often and justly compared to similarly reflective artists such as Bob Dylan, The Band and Woody Guthrie.
Unusually, a barking dog followed by some hearty laughter provides first vocals on the album’s opening track, Birds on Broken Wing, evoking a light-hearted earnestness that instantly distances the LP from the formulaic proclivity, which was prominent in much of last years’ folk renaissance.
The track order jumps between a bi-polar blend of bold, jaunty anthems – like crowd favourite Lion and Sombre – and reflective Dylan-esque offerings such as the brilliant aorta-spraining Meadow of a Dream. Agreeably though, this lends truth to their songs, creating a frankness as we listen to five people tell us exactly how they feel in that moment. Exuding a natural, unstructured attitude throughout its recordings, the album allows listeners to revel in seemingly unbridled rock composition, although a deeper inspection reveals a band intelligently masking well-drilled song structure with a crowd-pleasing irreverence to conformity.
Along with the aforementioned Meadow of a Dream, the wistful and distant nature of tracks such as Constituents, Chinatown and Silver in the Shadow imply a band restlessly dreaming of home. Lead vocalist Ian supplies his lyrics with a distracted eye, peering east across the Atlantic towards the Catskill Mountains where the band spent much of their youth.
Such a lust for home-comforts can largely be attributed to the bands gruelling tour schedules, having spent around half of the last six years on the road. They appear content to continue this habit, with current tour dates stretching to November 12th, including four shows in the UK.
On reflection, Favourite Waitress isn’t a particularly profound or seminal record but its genuine and personal delivery of themes strongly valued by its creators makes for satisfying and enjoyable listening. The album also proves that regardless of how much stream is left in folk’s recent revival, The Felice Brothers do not rely on the uncompromising success of a single genre and have plenty more to offer.
Favorite Waitress was released on 17th June 2014, for further information or to order the album visit here.
Watch the video for Meadow of a Dream here: