Felice's decision to go solo came after undergoing open-heart surgery in 2010. His condition was so tenuous that he was instructed to say goodbye to his family before surgery. His wife was 8 months pregnant at the time.
Surviving this ordeal led Felice to reorient his approach to music, family, and career. His self-titled album is deeply personal, fueled by Felice's commitment to his words and stories as much as his music. Join us at Club Café this Friday to see Felice up close for an early show (music starts at 7pm).
*Want a pair of free tickets? Email your name to firstname.lastname@example.org. Winner will be chosen on Thursday morning.
You've had some personal tragedies recently in your life. How has this affected your outlook?
I feel lucky. Not like a man at a horse race, more like the survivor of a shipwreck, singing each song as if it's my last night on earth.
You have an open letter to the memory of Levon Helm [founder of The Band, died in April 2012] on your site. What was your connection and how did his passing affect you?
I'm blessed and cursed to have been born just outside of Woodstock, NY in the mid 70s, riding my bicycle past Big Pink [the house where Helms and members of The Band lived and recorded]. So playing and singing with him on occasion has been a dream. Levon was the guiding light in our woods, his passing has left a major hole in our universe, but his was the kind of light that never really does out.
This is your first solo album. What made you decide to venture out on your own at this point in your career?
It's time to tell me own story. No costumes. No armor. Tell it true.
Was this written and produce by yourself primarily? Or did you collaborate with anyone? Was this more taxing than normal?
Some songs I did alone in my barn, some with my brothers, some with my friend Ben Lovett, not more taxing than normal, but I had to be more patient, wait for right light.
In most interviews I have seen you are always regarded as a storyteller. Was there a story to your first album that you were trying to express?
These are the dreams, nightmares, and wonders that passed before my eye two summers ago when I nearly died. Then a month later my daughter Pearl was born—the soundtrack of the fear and joy.
With the health issues you have had over the years, has this changed your opinion on our national health care system? A lot of artist in the ‘indie’ world do not have health insurance.
Yes, it's a weird country that likes its people ill.
Do you still collaborate with your brothers when they are creating a Felice Brothers album? Do they still ask for your input? Or is something you totally separate yourself from?
Yes, we've helped each other on both the most recent albums, [there's] nothing like blood on blood.
What do you think of the current media/social music world? Now being a solo artist is it time consuming to maintain a relationship with the public?
I don't know how to Twitter or go on Facebook, I just show up at the shows, in the flesh, I'm kind of old fashioned that way. I love to laugh with the fans, to cry, to sing together in the same room.
With albums able to be downloaded for free, what changes need to be made to maintain an independent act such as yourself? What modifications need to be made in your opinion?
Luckily it's all I know, I never made albums in the big money days so I've had nothing to lose. I think it keeps us humble, and down to earth. It's the live show that keep the wood in the fire at my house
What made you want to dedicate your life to music? Was there a show or album?
Joni Mitchell's Blue. Pink Floyd's Live in Pompeii. Whitman's Song of Myself.
What are your upcoming goals? Will you be creating more solo albums? Writing books?
All of the above. But mostly doing my best to find a little peace of mind, dance with my daughter in the sunlight.