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There's a lot to be said about The Felice Brothers

The Sinclair, Cambridge, Mass., May 20, 2019

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

The Felice Brothers have soldiered on, occupying the fringes of the musical world with ups and downs. After not knowing whether the group would even continue following the departure of half of the band a few years ago, The Felice Brothers continued with a new rhythm section and a new album, "Undressed," that is heavily political.

While The Felice Brothers are not exactly bound for commercial glory - that was never their direction anyway - they certainly had a lot to say musically.

Wall Street, capitalism and the state of the world (or lack thereof) were the constant barbs of the lyrics on "Undressed" as the group has focused on a more socially conscious turn in recent years. That alone would probably be enough to disqualify them from commercial success these days, but no matter.

James and Ian Felice are the mainstays of the group with James taking most of the leads and paying a huge debt to Dylan vocally and in song structure. One could have easily imagined Dylan singing the songs. As if to underscore the Dylan influence, the encore included "Changing of the Guards."

Ian, who mainly played keyboards and accordion (even banjo on one song), was the more personable of the brothers - giving sweeps on the keyboards, while taking the songs to the next level on the accordion. He also assumed lead vocals on a few songs, offering a different take than his brother.

The new rhythm section of Jesske Hume on bass and Will Lawrence on drums filled out the songs with Hume helping out on backing vocals for further contrast.

These songs were not of the ear candy variety either lyrically or sonically. While billed as a folk rock band, The Felice Brothers were more of the latter variety live.

The Felice Brothers have been doing it their way for years, and that's not going to change. With albums and outings like this, there's a lot to be said for that.