a Thunderous Reception in Ringwood
A Feature Article by Rich and Laura Lynch

Simone Felice is an author, musician and poet who travels around America and abroad sharing his songs. Yet, Simone's own life is a journey that includes two near-death experiences. Felice's first musical excursion was in a punk band, crafting weird sounds in his grandpa's barn. Later, he moved to NYC to perfect his craft in clubs such as the infamous CBGB as he continued to pen poetry and vignettes.

Simone Felice Receives a Thunderous Reception in Ringwood
Simone Felice is touring in support of Strangers with a 2014 stop at Live @ Drew's.

In addition to a solo career, Simone has been involved in other collaborations. He has worked with Levon Helm, The Avett Brothers and more. Felice is also in a group with his brothers Ian and James. In 2012, Simone released his self-titled debut album. His second solo record Strangers came out March of this year.

Simone is on the road in 2014. His itinerary incorporated a repeat visit to Ringwood, New Jersey to perform at Live @ Drew's on May 23rd. Drew has been hosting house concerts for over a decade. Many musicians like Felice return here as they enjoy playing to attentive audiences in an intimate setting. Drew's concerts are also a party as he asks guests to bring food to encourage socializing pre-show. The weather prior was nice but later when Simone took center stage the night skies had darkened with approaching thunder.

Drew introduced Simone Felice mentioning the other occasions and configurations Simone had performed at his house. Drew recalled one show that had been listed on ReverbNation as starting at eight o clock when in fact the concert was coming to a close. Die hard Felice fans had come all the way from Boston for the event, so Simone played additional songs just for them. On Friday night, Felice was fronting a three piece band in which he switched back and forth from acoustic guitar to drums while handling lead vocals. Simone was supported by the talented Gabriel Dresdale (cello) and Matty Green (dobro & mandolin). Both also provided backing vocals.

They opened with "Don't Wake The Scarecrow". A haunting cello part set the mood as Simone melded drums and storytelling into the mix. Felice was expressive visually and vocally. When he was not playing an instrument he was gesturing with his arms that flowed with his lyrical words.

"Really nice to see you guys," greeted Felice as he moved quickly into drum patterns that implied movement. "Molly-O" was a melodic meander through relationships and travel. Felice said that he was from New York state sharing that he was sort of born in the woods and stayed there which rolled into "Bye Bye Palenville". For the first part of the tune Felice moved his hands to the music as he stamped his foot on the floor. He relocated to the drum kit to give the song more kick before shifting to strumming the guitar as he looked out the window with a lake view.

Simone Felice Receives a Thunderous Reception in Ringwood
Simone's three-piece configuration conjured up a mighty sound.

Many of the songs Simone presented Friday unfolded like a voyage through different pictures and progressions. The dynamic "New York Times" trekked from South Dakota to New York City. "Charade" flowed in the same vein with sad reflections from a man working at a gas station. Here dark images melded with delicate orchestration. In that muse Simone presented more poetic perspectives in "If You Ever Get Famous". "You & I Belong" roared along with its appealing hook paired with intense instrumentation and images describing the city of angels.

Other songs that held the house concert attendees captivate were the catchy and upbeat "Radio Song" and the appropriately frightening "The Devil Is Real" which poured out of the band as the rain fell in a lightning infused tempest outside.

Simone continued to expand on the emotions and energy of the first half of the concert ending with an encore that included an animated version of Springsteen's "Atlantic City" that had the crowd clapping along. Felice put an innovative spin on Neil Young's "Helpless" with the cello and dobro giving the classic different textures as the show came to a stormy close.

Opening for Simone was Jarrod Dickenson with Jon Paul Ruggeri. The duo was armed with acoustic guitars to accent Jarrod's effective storytelling. He jested that "No Work For A Working Man" was a cheery song about the Great Depression. It was a poignant observation on poverty. "Come What May" was also poetic accompanied with pretty picking. "Your Heart Belongs To Me" was a sweet sentimental song about love. They closed with a tune that had a bit of a blues feel. Jarrod as a support act nicely complimented Simone as he too was an interesting musical minstrel.

Before and after the concert as is often the case, the artists were mingling with the audience. Live @ Drew's has showcased a long impressive list of musicians many such as Graham Parker and Simone Felice have played at the house multiple times. For more information please go to

Simone Felice Receives a Thunderous Reception in Ringwood
Opener Jarrod Dickenson was a captivating storyteller with Texas roots.

Related Links: For more information on SIMONE FELICE and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links - Simone Felice | Jarrod Dickenson | Live @ Drew's Mailing List | The Felice Brothers in Ringwood

(Originally Published on May 25, 2014)




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