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Simone Felice, Simone Felice (Reveal Records) ****
IT can be hard keeping up with Simone Felice. First he was the drummer and sometime singer in The Felice Brothers.
Then he splintered off into The Duke And The King, where everyone sang and swapped instruments. Now Simone has gone solo, albeit with some of the Felice Brothers and friends from Mumford & Sons and a local girls’ choir, the Catskill High School Treblaires.
This tells only part of the story. Simone has come through near-death and new life experiences: open-heart surgery in 2010 and the birth of his first child not long after.
Both inform this storytelling album, although for all the whistling on You And I Belong, Americana melancholia dominates. He writes narrative tales, echoing the work of Richmond Fontaine’s Willy Vlautin, either in true-life reflections on Courtney Love and The Ballad Of Sharon Tate or the sad lament to lost love in Stormy-Eyed Sarah and the shocking violence of Hey Bobby Ray. Catch him at Pocklington Arts Centre on April 29, whoever he plays with.