The Duke and the King are no longer just the pair of wayfaring bon vivants in Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn; thanks to Simone Felice and Robert “Chicken” Burke, the Duke and the King are also an intriguing new partnership between two musicians based in the Hudson Valley, but with histories that stretch across oceans. Felice is best known as a founding member of Americana group the Felice Brothers, who over the past few years have risen in popularity on both sides of the Atlantic, playing big ticket festivals like Bonnaroo and All Points West.
I believe The Duke And The King may have ruined concert going for me.
Where do I go next? How do you top the thrill of seeing a band bursting at the seams with creative sparks and a kinship with the audience that bordered on familial (you know, familial as it pertains to the parts of the family you still speak to)? How do you react as decades old friends and minutes old friends get swept up as one and are smiling, singing, clapping and stomping along with the unbridled enthusiasm that only the young-at-heart can muster?
“I’ve have nothing to say / on Christmass day / when you threw all your toys in the snow…”
One of the things I like the most about pop (and music in general), it the unbelieavable amount of fantasy and combinations you can get just putting different people on the same space watching soungs, feelings, ideas get born like fresh plants from a speed up forwarded video from “Discovery Channel”. Even when seeds are planted on the old, waste, rich common ground of the wide traditional American Folk Music. That’s the case of the couple behind The - oh!mydarling - Handsome Family
Let’s meet the gang.
Someone (a big figure in the music business) said to me 'Where are all the songwriters?' as if it is a lost art, in danger of extinction. But when anyone laments falling standards in music, I want to say get the cobwebs out of your ears.
London Bush Hall, May 26 2009
Uncut Editor Allan Jones was front and center for The Duke & The King's London show and wrote about the show on his blog.
- - - - -
The last time I saw Simone Felice anywhere near a London stage, he was hanging above it, wild-eyed and shirtless, from a monitor in the ceiling of the 100 Club, from which precarious position he was leading a boisterous crowd through a rowdy version of a song called “Ruby Mae” from the recently-released new album by The Felice Brothers, who were at the time roaring towards the climax of a typically rambunctious show.