sat 23/09/2017

Simone Felice: Video Exclusive Pt 1 | reviews, news & interviews

Simone Felice: Video Exclusive Pt 1

Simone Felice: Video Exclusive Pt 1

Folkster-cum-poet takes us on an exclusive tour of his mountain retreats

Felice: renaissance woodsman

Simone Felice has both a back story to make Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon seem like a graduate of Fame, and the poetic gifts to make it as real to you as the air you breathe. In a two-part exclusive, he has recorded a series of videos for theartsdesk to take readers around some of the locations of his stomping grounds in the Catskill Mountains of New York State which have helped inspire his forthcoming debut solo album, released on 2 April.

For those unfamiliar with the back story, it goes like this: at the age of 12 Felice suffered a brain haemorrhage that left him clinically dead for several minutes. It took months just to learn to walk and read again. He processed these experiences as a teenager through music and writing. At 18 he was the lead singer of a local band, Eight Body Trunk, and by 22 he was a published poet. Throughout his twenties he continued to write music and fiction, and by 30 he'd both published a novel and been acclaimed as the main man of The Felice Brothers, whose songs had been written during a summer retreat in a cabin in the woods.

A congenital abnormality had caused his heart to pump less than 10 per cent of the normal flow

As Felice’s reputation grew it was not just his singing and writing that was in demand. Star producer Rick Rubin asked him to play drums on the Avett Brothers album, I and Love and You, which reached number one in the Billboard folk chart. But in 2009 Felice and his girlfriend suffered a tragedy in the form of a miscarriage, and Felice returned to the cabin to write what would become The Duke and King’s debut album. Personal disaster struck again the next year. Felice discovered that a congenital abnormality had caused his heart to pump less than 10 per cent of the normal flow. Emergency surgery which left him with a titanium valve replacement, but he soon recovered and, after a period of spending time with his family, (which included the birth of a healthy girl in 2011) Felice started work on his new album. The lead single, "You and I Belong" is released on 19 March.

Here, in part one of our exclusive videos, Felice returns to the abandoned Carson City Theme Park, where he had visited as a kid. Tomorrow he introduces the second video with a blank verse poem of what these films mean.

Watch Felice's video, Cowboys and Indians (turn HD off if your connection is slow)

 

Watch "You and I Belong" from Felice's forthcoming album

A back story to make Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon seem like a graduate of Fame, and the poetic gifts to make it as real to you as the air you breathe

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