The Felice Brothers return to Birmingham on the heels of Favorite Waitress, the folk rock band’s 10th album in as many years. Their eclectic sound has included horns, fiddles, accordions and more orchestral strings to accompany usual band fare.
Bassist and vocalist Josh Rawson spoke to Weld about the band’s often grueling pace.
Weld: How do you maintain this recording pace?
Josh Rawson: We just can’t stop writing songs. We just do it constantly, and we need to get it out there.
Weld: When you’re writing, is it done as a collective, or do the other guys write individually and bring it to the group?
JR: We do a lot of both. Sometimes people come up with fully formed songs, but lately, we’ve been trying to do a lot of writing together and bring some ideas into the group and we all kind of pound it out together.
Weld: Does that kind of production make a nightly setlist difficult?
JR: Yeah, writing setlists is the hardest thing on Earth. [Laughs] We tend to do it five minutes after we were supposed to go on and fight over who’s gonna do it. It’s pretty funny.
Weld: I imagine you are able to head out on a two-week run and play different songs every night at this point.
JR: It’s true. Sometimes a lot of songs we don’t really get up — we don’t remember the chords to [them], stuff like that [Laughs].
Weld: What will the setup be on this tour? Horns? Strings? Or will it be mostly acoustic?
JR: We’ll all be playing electric and stuff, but yeah, just a regular setup. All of the band members — we don’t have any extra players or anything.
Weld: I ask because you’ve used a diverse instrumentation in the past, but the record sounds a little more acoustic. Why did you choose to do it that way?
JR: I think we just wanted to — we spent so much time on pre-production where we were just playing together in our practice space — and we just tried to get it down to where we didn’t need anything else. It was sort of minimalism, the thing we were going for.
Weld: If I read correctly, you have an interesting nickname: “Christmas.” Where did that come from?
JR: Yeah — it comes from a William Faulkner character named Joe Christmas. When I was a teen, people called me Josh Christmas for a while, which turned into just “Christmas.”
Weld: You mention Faulkner — you have a very Southern identity, but you’re from New York. How did that happen?
JR: I don’t think we have a super Southern identity — we try to encapsulate all regions of the country. I read a lot of William Faulkner books, but I’ve never thought we try to emulate it.
Weld: Who are the top five American rock bands of all time?
JR: Nirvana, number one. Two, Chuck Berry. Three, The Meat Puppets. Four, The Breeders. Five, who played “Louie, Louie?” The Kingsmen? The Kingsmen.