In The Kingdom Of Dreams is the debut solo album from Ian Felice, the lead singer and songwriter of The Felice Brothers. It will be released via Loose on 25th August 2017. The album was recorded in Ian’s childhood home of Palenville NY, with his brother Simone Felice on production duties. Simone produced and co-wrote recent hit albums from The Lumineers and Bat For Lashes. On the album, Ian was joined by the original Felice Brothers line-up of James Felice on keys, Simone Felice on drums and Josh Rawson on bass. Listen to the first song from the record below – the title track In The Kingdom Of Dreams.
Ian has been the lead singer and songwriter for The Felice Brothers for over a decade. Born and raised in the Catskill Mountains he moved to New York when he was 18 to study art and soon after began writing songs and performing with his brothers Simone and James. The Felice Brothers was conceived in 2006 after the recording of Iantown, a 10 song album of Ian’s first songs recorded in one night in January of 2006. In the weeks and months that followed, The Felice Brothers began playing bars, restaurants and busking street corners and subways, joined by their friends Josh Rawson on bass and Greg Farley on the fiddle. They continue to play and work as a band after 12 years of prolific song writing and performance and the creation of some 9 albums of original material.
In The Kingdom of Dreams is a collection of songs Ian wrote in 2016 and recorded over the course of 4 days in February of 2017, with his brother Simone at the helm. As Ian explains:-
“When I began writing the songs that would become In The Kingdom Of My Dreams many were based on memories of my past but not necessarily all literal or in a logical sequence. I became interested in the pull between reality and unreality and also in how time affects memory. By the end of 2016 I was run down from touring America, riding out the storm of political mania and juggling a few personal dilemmas (including the revelation that I would soon be a father). The Kingdom Of Dreams became a place where I could escape from the numbing flood of data that permeates modern life and try to unravel pieces of my past, rearrange memories with dreams or lines from my imagination and construct something that functioned outside the limits of reality. Many of the songs deal with childhood memories of Palenville and its people, like the song “In Memoriam” which is partly about the death of my stepfather when I was 8, “Water Street” that confronts my fears of becoming a father, or “21st Century” that deals with mental illness and politics on a more universal level. It only seemed right that I should make the album there, along the green banks of the Katterskill Creek and with my brother Simone as producer. The result is a pretty reflective record that hopefully blows some cobwebs from the window of my psyche. Many of the things that I was writing at the time didn’t work as songs and so I published a companion book of poetry, Hotel Swampland.”
In The Kingdom Of Dreams will be released on 25th August 2017 via Loose, available on CD, heavyweight vinyl and as a download. Ian’s book of poetry is available from ianfelice.com, along with a selection of related paintings.
Ian Felice will be embarking on an intimate solo tour of the UK in November. Tickets are on sale now for the following shows:-
22 Nov – MANCHESTER, Night And Day
23 Nov – EDINBURGH, Voodoo Rooms
24 Nov – NEWCASTLE, Live Theatre
26 Nov – NOTTINGHAM, The Maze
27 Nov – LONDON, Borderline
28 Nov – BRISTOL, Thekla
29 Nov – BIRMINGHAM, Hare & Hounds
30 Nov – LEEDS, Brudenell
This song is yet to be recorded, and was performed as a solo, stripped-down performance in one take at Belmont United Methodist Church in the Hillsboro Village area of Nashville.
“Back in November, only two days or so after the election, this song hit me like a brick at a Love’s Truck Stop. I pulled over, and wrote it in 10 minutes. That’s how some songs are delivered, fully formed, and you must write them when they come. For the first time in my womanhood, I felt powerless, because the man who was supposed to rule our country made some very shocking and hurtful comments about women. It reminded me of all the times I, or someone close to me, had been harassed, sexually abused, cat-called, or body shamed. The song is intended to empower, and to conquer our demons. It is a statement, not a plead or a question. We ARE more than bodies. We are strong, intelligent, capable humans, with our own opinions and thoughts. It’s a song that I desperately needed as a reminder, and a song that I hope serves as a reminder to women who feel powerless.” – Courtney Marie Andrews
Courtney’s most recent record, Honest Life, came out on May 17th, 2017. Courtney produced the entire record herself at Litho Studios in Seattle with recording engineer Floyd Reitsma.
See more from Courtney including Tour Dates at https://www.courtneymarieandrews.com/.
In many ways, Shame, the new album from 27-year-old Nashville Americana songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Rachel Baiman, released on Free Dirt Records on June 30th. is an exploration of growing up female in America. “I wasn’t necessarily trying to write songs that would be easy to listen to”, Baiman says of the project, “I wanted to write about reality, in all of its terror and beauty.” From the title track about abortion politics, to love, sex, and abuse in relationships, to classism and inequality in her re-write of Andy Irvine’s working class anthem “Never Tire of the Road,” the album is ambitious in its scope, yet remains cohesive through Baiman’s personal perspective.
Despite the serious subject matter, the overall feeling of the album remains light, with the tongue-in-cheek “Getting Ready to Start (Getting Ready)” and feel-good anthem “Let them Go To Heaven”. A departure from her stripped-down work with progressive folk duo 10 String Symphony, Shame is lush and varied in instrumentation and musical texture. Inspired in equal parts by John Hartford and Courtney Barnett, Baiman’s influences span a wide range, but years spent playing traditional music shine through in the album’s firmly rooted sound. For recording and production, Baiman turned to the talents of Mandolin Orange’s Andrew Marlin. “At the time that I was writing the music for this record, I was listening to all North Carolina-made albums, including Mandolin Orange and the album Andrew produced for Josh Oliver (Oliver is also featured heavily on Shame).” Shortly after reaching out to Marlin, Baiman travelled to Chapel Hill, NC for three intensive days in the studio. “The energy was amazing,” Baiman says. “It became clear that we were making something really special that needed to be finished.”
Added to the musical intensity was the context of the material they were recording – namely, how the songwriting on Shame sits within the current American political climate. “I think what is happening in the country right now has really shifted my career priorities, and brought the folk music community together. We are all suddenly seeing our purpose come into focus, and feeling a renewed responsibility to be a voice of unity and resistance.” In addition to the release of her new solo album, Baiman is the co-founder of a new political group called Folk Fights Back, a musician-led national organisation that puts together benefit concerts and awareness events in response to the Trump administration.
Baiman is no newcomer to activism. Raised in Chicago by a radical economist and a social worker, she was surrounded by social justice issues her entire life. “If I wanted to rebel against my parents I could have become a finance banker or a corporate lawyer” she says of her childhood. While her classmates went to church or temple on Sunday mornings, Baiman attended the Ethical Humanist Society of Greater Chicago, a non-religious community formed around discussions of morality and current events. “That was always a tough one to explain at school” she says with a laugh.
As a teenager, Baiman found music to be a welcome escape from worrying about global politics. “I often found the constant discussion of seemingly unsolvable problems to be intense and overwhelming, and when I moved to Nashville to pursue music it felt like something positive, beautiful, and productive that I could put into the world. Now that I’ve had some years to devote to music,”–Baiman has been recording and touring internationally for the past 4 years with 10 String Symphony, and has played fiddle for numerous other artists including Kacey Musgraves and Winnipeg folk band Oh My Darling–“I find it hard to escape from the values that I grew up with, and I feel compelled to write politically, to speak out about things that I’ve experienced or seen. Songwriting is a unique opportunity to do that, because it avails a more emotional vehicle for discussion. I love the political tradition of folk music, from Woody Guthrie to Tupac, and my hope is that this record adds another voice to it.”