Simone Felice : Simone Felice
That Simone Felice has had an eventful last couple of years is an understatement of the most perverse kind. Having taken the first cautious steps out from the shadow of his elder brothers with The Duke and the King, Felice wrote a couple of critically-acclaimed books, and made two ill-fated attempts to cross the Pacific to tour Australia, the second aborted trip after having been forced to undergo emergency heart surgery.
With that mixture of art, business, travel and near-death experience, Felice’s debut solo album was always going to be something worth waiting for. Simone Felice is the type of record so rich and deep you can almost touch the emotion within which each song is enveloped. On Hey Bobby Ray and New York Times, Felice’s voice shudders with emotion as he recounts the tale of a lost friend and disconcerting memories. On You and I Belong the mood is upbeat, the closest track on the record to the bar room excitement of The Felice Brothers. Stormy-Eyed Sarah is lifted straight from the Cat Stevens’ folk tradition and Charade is the ideal metaphor for everyone’s emotional insecurities.
On Dawn Brady’s Song, Felice nestles into the country rock tradition alongside the Drive By Truckers and any southern country rocker worth their salt. Gimme All You Got is so tender it’s almost oozing blood; Splendour in the Grass lays down in the grass with a copy of Nick Drake’s Pink Moon and gazes wonderingly at the stars.
And then there’s Felice’s celebrity biographical narratives: on Courtney Love Felice wonders aloud at the Hole singer’s dysfunctional lifestyle and romantic existence; on Sharon Tate Felice offers vivid glimpses of a life of beauty and brilliance cut short by murderous psychopathy. It’s a story that’s been told a thousand times; in the hands of Simone Felice, it’s a poignant moment only very few songwriters can create.
BY PATRICK EMERY
Key track: You and I Belong
If you like these, you’ll like this: Cat Stevens, Nick Drake and the Felice Brothers
In a word: Emotional