Track This: Simone Felice's "Our Lady of the Gun"

Simone Felice  has traveled a far different path on his solo records than his work in the Felice Brothers. While they added extra, electronic instrumentation after he left the band on Celebration, Florida, Simone has explored the vagaries and sound of 1970's folk singer-songwriter pop, channeling the likes of James Taylor and Randy Newman, yet writing striking and relevant modern songs. Both of his solo efforts are low key, literate affairs miles away from the rocking Americana of the Felice Brothers, but as memorable as their early efforts.

Felice has an ear for quiet melodies and poetic phrases -- worn vocal exercises mingle with catchy harmony vocals. "Our Lady of the Gun" from 2014's revelatory Strangers catches him at full strength, sounding like the understated, yet equally tragic, sister song to The Felice Brother's "Frankie's Gun!" The song is stark and melancholic, yet clear and well-defined. Felice sings, "there's a stranger in the classroom / did Jesus leave us in the pale winter sun? / man, you should have seen us / seen how we run / our lady of the gun." The bass drum creates a call and response with Felice's acoustic guitar as he tells the story of what appears to be another tragic school shooting.

The commonplace actions of Felice's characters have religious overtones as the narrator calls for Jesus, but he grounds the narrative in the quiet moments and impersonal details. He sings,"we run in our shawls and our sweatshirts and hats." A few verses later, he adds "they swore to us we had god on our team / and no one could mess with us." The basic details of life intermingle with metaphysical questions just as Felice often combines the basics with pop cultural touchstones.

The song contains another of Felice's trademark anthemic choruses, but asks hard questions. Felice has created another poignant classic that merges the intimate with the universal. Felice creates songs that stick in your head melodically, but also make you think. He combines the literary with the heartfelt.

Track This is a recurring feature of Snobbin' that turns the music appreciation dial up and rips it off of your stereo. It attempts to introduce a new track, allow readers to rediscover an underappreciated track, or just serve as a forum to flat out discuss a track that falls into the ear candy category and should be listened to unabashedly for years to come.


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