The Duke & The King speak to NY1

The music group The Duke and the King recently played music off their first CD, “Nothing Gold Can Stay” at the City Winery in Manhattan. The band is a side project for Simon Felice, who ordinarily can be found in the roots rock alt-country Felice Brothers.

Felice and his two brothers grew up playing music in the shadow of “The Band,” the all-star band that featured rock legends like Eric Clapton, Neil Diamond, Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Ringo Starr, Muddy Waters and Neil Young.

The Band’s drummer, Levon Helm, lives just down the block.

“Grew up with music and our dad was a carpenter. He had played some tapes and we got hooked and then no turning back,” says Felice.

While he grew up in a one-horse town, Felice is quick to point out that it did have a library. It is no accident that his literary background finds its way into his songwriting.

Duke & King on NY1

“‘Born Again Get To Hell’ is kind of just inspired by going to hell. Dante wrote so eloquently about it, but I didn’t write as eloquently as him,” says Felice. “This [book] was about this thick and ours is about three minutes 45 seconds long.”

The band’s name borrows from two characters in Mark Twain’s novel “Adventures Huckleberry Finn” who are con artists who claim they are the king of France and an English duke. Felice plays the Duke, Robert Burke plays the King, and they share royalties as they co-author the songs.

“Simon and I go back writing songs together for at least a decade and he had a bunch of songs piling up that he wanted to do,” says Burke. “And we started to collaborate on them and we were just having so much fun that we went down that road together.”

Fans of the Duke and the King will hear some familiar sounds.

“In Duke and the King we found some nice ways to do some of the older Felice Brothers’ songs,” says Felice. “It all sort of springs out of the same well.”

Read the article and watch the video on the NY1 website.