Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Duke and the King Hit Portsmouth

The Duke and the King hit Town
By Sarah Gill
Shine up your old brown shoes and put on a brand new shirt. The glam-soul-folk sound of The Duke and the King will be shaking the dust from the rafters at the Wedgewood Rooms tomorrow night.

The New York quartet are touring the UK to support their first album, No Gold Will Stay, which was released to international acclaim last year.

The band comprises Simone Felice (of the Felice Brothers), Bobby 'Bird' Burke, Simi Stone and Nowell Haskins. Named after the travelling Shakespeare hustlers in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, they bring the tradition of being on the road, life experience and the human condition alive in their music.

Nowell says: 'The reality of being a human being is that you have good, you have bad, you have happy, you have sad.'

Famed for their rousing live performances, Felice says: 'We like to
bring theatre into our music. We want it to be like a travelling theatre.'

Their debut album, which was nominated for an Uncut Music Award last year, was recorded in a cabin in the Catskill mountains of NY state.

If you missed them on Later With Jools Holland last year and haven't yet heard their warm country-soul sound, their songs are wistful tales of childhood, the passage of time, America, regrets and desires.

Their music has been favourably compared to the likes of Smokey Robinson, Paul Simon, Sly and the Family Stone, Marvin Gaye and James Taylor but their sound is distinct.

Felice wants to write about the past without recycling what other people have written.

'The poet's job is to tell the story of his own time,' he says.