Review: “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” The Duke & The King

Duke - Front

The Felice Brothers are a rollicking roots-rock outfit from the Hudson Valley of New York state, and we’ve featured their music here in the past – Yonder Is The Clock was their highly acclaimed release from earlier this year.  Simone Felice, one of the three brothers in the group, has now started his own band – the Duke and the King, with Robert “Chicken” Burke (a George Clinton sideman).  Nothing Gold Can Stay, Duke & King’s first effort, is a shimmering gem of an album with beautiful, personal songs born of pain and rebirth.

Felice lost his baby girl last winter, and his loss is reflected first in the album’s title (from a classic Robert Frost poem) then in the songs, which look back on good times past with loss, regret and a slight smirk of wizened knowledge.  By the time you reach the brilliant “One More American Song,” which closes the album, you know you have been on a unique, cathartic journey.  The album is short, with only 10 tracks, but its organic feel and rich attention to detail make you feel as though you’ve dipped into an epic novel.  “Union Street” has an unassuming start but builds into a drama with the singer courting a pretty girl while New York City burns in the background.  We then go straight to “Lose My Self,” an airy piece of psychedelia that wouldn’t sound out of place in the Pink Floyd catalog.

Nothing Gold Can Stay is an impressive calling card for Simone Felice – he certainly makes it known that he is one of the best songwriters working today, and a worthy successor to the fading old lions of rock songwriting (Dylan, Springsteen, Van Morrison).  All hail the Duke – and the King.

MP3: “Union Street”

Simone Felice’s MySpace page

The Duke & the King MySpace page

One Response to “Review: “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” The Duke & The King”

  1. It’s a wonderful album, one of the very best of 2009, If You Ever Get Famous and Summer Morning Rain are my favorites, but there’s not a bad track on the record.

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