|Ian Felice||In the Kingdom of Dreams|
Ian Felice — In the Kingdom of Dreams (25th August 2017) ★•→ In The Kingdom Of Dreams is the debut solo album from Ian Felice, the lead singer and song~writer 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. The title track will be available to download from Friday 14th July.
Location: Catskills, USA
Album release: 25th August 2017
Record Label: NEW YORK PRO / Loose Music
01 In the Kingdom of Dreams 3:56
02 Will I Ever Reach Laredo 4:46
03 21st Century 4:32
04 In Memoriam 4:12
05 Signs of Spring 3:40
06 Mt. Despair 4:59
07 Road to America 4:06
08 Water Street 3:09
09 Ten to One 3:53
10 In the Final Reckoning 3:20
© 2017 Loose Music
•→ James Felice on keys,
•→ Simone Felice on drums and
•→ Josh Rawson on bass.
BY NINA CORCORAN ON AUGUST 28, 2017, 6:00AM / SCORE: B–
•→ The middle Felice brother guides listeners along a trail of joyful and sorrowful memories.
•→ A sizeable chunk of our childhood memories aren’t memories at all. During the toddler years, our brains are busy taking in sights and sounds never witnessed before, places and noises that will become regular in the years that follow but, in that instant, seem remarkably unfathomable. Memories, particularly those that are rich with detail like the ones relatives tell us repeatedly at family gatherings, are few and far between. If nothing else, the majority of our childhood memories are learned. We rewrite our earliest narrative moments based on stories people told us about them, and over time, we picture those stories through our own eyes. If you don’t remember, you will, because our imaginations can recreate memories we were supposed to recall but were too young to store away in the backs of our brains. For his debut solo LP, In the Kingdom of Dreams, Ian Felice tried to grapple with the reality of such.
•→ Out of all the members of The Felice Brothers, Ian should arguably remember the most. He’s the middle child of the three musicians (Simone is five years older and James three years younger), which means he’s old enough to be taught various things by an older brother but takes on the responsibility of helping a younger sibling learn about the world, too. When he began writing the songs that would become In the Kingdom of Dreams, Ian found himself zoning in on the past, pulling apart his own memories to see which details were true, which were descriptions told by others, and if their logical sequence in his brain followed a proper timeline. Come the end of 2016, when this political hurricane was merely taunting the eye of its storm and Felice himself had just gotten off tour, he willfully threw himself into his stories. If there’s a time to figure out who you are and what your past is comprised of, it’s at a time like that. But Felice didn’t just clarify notes on his life. He dreamed about the future. On In the Kingdom of Dreams, he’s grounding his past while exploring how it got him to the present.
•→ It should come as no surprise that Felice’s ability to share personal anecdotes on the album work best when he keeps it simple. Just look at storytellers of the past who’ve taken this on. His work here most easily calls to mind Bob Dylan: the revolving acoustic guitar, the knit~picky lyrics, the roaming voice that stays within a set vocal range. On “Ten to One”, he prowls through personal drama with vocals that shake like Conor Oberst’s. As a married man with a family to his name, Felice muses on new memories in “Water Street” over hushed guitar, comparing himself to how he remembers his own father: “I have a wife and a newborn baby/ In a new house at the end of Water Street/ My father walked out and just kept walking/ In the light of an ‘80s moon/ Sometimes I walk the tracks, but I always come right back/ And feed the cats in the boiler room.” But nothing compares to the title track, which boldly serves as the album’s opener. It’s a roaming, four~minute, wind~swept beauty that subtly builds to a powerful chorus about freeing yourself from daily pains, with the single ending sentence — “Hell wouldn’t mean a thing/ If I were king” — hanging in the air.
•→ In the Kingdom of Dreams would sound like an acoustic version of a Felice Brothers album if it weren’t for Ian’s lyrics. While the full band touts a certain giddiness, the type of Americana that bursts in “Frankie’s Gun!” and last year’s Life in the Dark, Ian Felice zones in on moments that deeply impacted him and now steer his reactions as an adult. Look at “In Memoriam”. When Felice sings about the death of his stepfather as an eight~year~old, a clarity comes to the forefront, namely that exposure to heavy topics early on in life provides an early familiarity with the type of seriousness needed to address later struggles in life. His lyrics on In the Kingdom of Dreams function as deeper poems separate from the music. It’s also why Felice released Hotel Swampland, a companion book of poems written at the same time as the album. Felice recording it over the course of four quick days exemplifies that extension of the now, essentially using his in~the~moment thoughts and desires to structure an album that could have been tweaked by the ways in which he remembered these moments from his life. Felice throws himself into emotion on the album, and by doing so, the anecdotes he shares feel as far from influence as any relative’s retelling could dictate.
•→ For Felice, In the Kingdom of Dreams is a personal exploration. A handful of songs are relatable depending on your own personal experiences. Others, like “Will I Ever Reach Laredo” and “21st Century”, get bogged down in layered instrumentation, causing the songs to feel belabored with unnecessary details. However, Felice’s voice strings you along throughout, leading the listener through a trail of memories that impacted him deeply with joy and sorrow, and when you listen closely, move you in tandem through those. It serves as a deeper look into the narrative of The Felice Brothers, showing listeners what Ian Felice as an individual brings to their songwriting board and what he as a human went through to make the Americana authenticity of the band gleam with memories that are realer than he was ever told.
Essential Tracks: “In the Kingdom of Dreams”, “Ten to One”, and “Road to America”
— CoS: https://consequenceofsound.net/
Doug Collette, August 25, 2017. Score: 9
•→ When the bells start to ring near the end of this cut, the picture Ian’s painting noticeably broadens, as he vividly depicts the life he leads in “a new house at the end of Water Street.” Not surprisingly, In The Kingdom of Dreams refuses to play in the background so, long before “Ten to One” and “In The Final Reckoning” reverberate with drama both personal and social, it becomes impossible not to sit down and listen closely to what Ian Felice is saying. That’s why the cover painting of this album, evocative as it is, only barely intimates everything going on in the songs and the musicianship inside it. (excerpt)
Written by Alex Gallacher 11 July, 2017
•→ 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
|Ian Felice||In the Kingdom of Dreams|