SPACE Studios

Kindling Fund










Menu Close

The Felice Brothers with Dead Gowns

Sunday, July 14 2024
doors at 7:00pm
$27 advance
$32 day of show
$2 off for SPACE members

The Hudson Valley folk-rock revivalists return to SPACE with the intimate and unvarnished songs of their new record Valley of Abandoned Songs.

The Felice Brothers first emerged from the Hudson Valley nearly two decades ago with a gloriously ramshackle sound that drew on everything from Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan to Walt Whitman and Flannery O’Connor. In just a few short years, the group went from busking in the subway to playing Radio City Music Hall with Bright Eyes and appearing everywhere from the Newport Folk Festival to Levon Helm’s Midnight Ramble. Beginning with 2007’s Tonight At The Arizona, the band helped pave the way for the modern folk revival, while at the same time challenging its boundaries and conventions with bold sonic experimentation and unyielding integrity. The New York Times likened their music to “the rootsy mysticism of the Band,” while Rolling Stone praised the “scrappiness” of their “folk-rock noir,” and The Guardian hailed their songs as “impeccably crafted, with literary-minded lyrics that are both playful and profound.”

The band’s newest record, Valley of Abandoned Songs, marks The Felice Brothers’ debut for Conor Oberst’s new Million Stars label and showcases the group at their most intimate and unvarnished. Balancing hope and despair in equal measure, the album explores the search for meaning and connection through the eyes of a wide-ranging cast of misfits and outcasts, and though the recordings here span several years of almost-lost tunes, the result is a thoroughly cohesive collection that manages to feel both utterly timeless and particularly attuned to the present all at once.

Dead Gowns is the project of Portland, Maine, songwriter, Geneviève Beaudoin. Her latest collection, the How EP, is a confident declaration of self-acceptance. Written in January 2021, during a period of personal and professional flux, Beaudoin found herself taking stock of what to hold onto. Having been immersed in the recording process of a separate Dead Gowns full length, these songs rose to the surface out of necessity and quickly took on a life of their own.

Ideas of shedding, and the power and tenderness required to do so, are evoked again and again over the course of this collection. ‘Renter Not A Buyer’ is the cheekiest of the tracks, but also the most indelible. The chorus is a veritable earworm, as catchy as it is damning. It’s a multi-faceted exploration of the shells we inhabit, the work involved in preserving them, and how they so often fail us. The narrator, hungover and late to work, tumbles down the stairs from an apartment too drafty to be habitable. Bleeding from the mouth, she tries to kiss her date goodbye, avoiding a larger reality in her body. Beaudoin’s own experiences with endometriosis inform this exploration: she sets concealed pain in direct opposition to the demands of saving face. This process is invariably fraught and she is the first to recognize the absurdity of trying at all.

The rest of the EP is less fixated on the pitfalls of how one presents to the world. Though Beaudoin first wrote these songs as unspoken dialogues, she sees them now as affirmations intended for herself. ‘How You Act’ is a reclamation of agency, empowering the narrator to forgive and accept: “Yeah it’s messy, grow up your heart” illustrates this revelation, with Beaudoin’s voice ringing out unaccompanied for a brief moment of quiet triumph. ‘Change Your Mind’ is a moving celebration of this new life, emerging with gusto from the past. Set atop swelling strings and the warm swagger of a Fender Rhodes, the track’s affirmation feels earned and regal. But it’s in ‘Real Life’ that Beaudoin realizes that there’s no fixed point here. She must make peace with the fact that her desire for change will always run alongside a past that won’t entirely stay past.

On the EP’s one-year anniversary, Dead Gowns has partnered with Vinyl Me, Please for the first vinyl pressing of the collection, with new songs ‘Kid 1,’ ‘Castine,’ and ‘Kid 2’ closing out the B-side. Rather than detract from the central narrative, the new additions fill out the frame.

Throughout How, now in its expanded form, Beaudoin deftly traces the molting process, from the darkly comic wriggling of the larval state to the transcendence of uncalloused being. The sense of visitation in these moments – both hushed and universal – reiterates that new life begins by accepting, rather than discarding, one’s past messes.

💐 Feastland 2024 is fast approaching! Join us August 10th as we return to beautiful Broadturn Farm for a wild evening of food, site-specific art, drinks, music and county fair vibes — with dinner from Goodfire Brewing Co. included! 🍲