In May of 2010, singer-songwriter Simon Felice should have been feeling on top of the world. His band The Duke & the King was preparing to release their second album Long Live the Duke & the King, the follow-up to 2009’s critically admired Nothing Gold Can Stay, And Felice’s wife was heavily pregnant with their first child, a double blessing given the couple had previously suffered a late-term miscarriage the previous year.
But Felice, who first gained a following playing alongside his siblings in folk-rock act The Felice Brothers, was not feeling on top of the world in the early summer of 2010. In fact, he was feeling like hell warmed over. “If you look at pictures of me, I was just pale and grey,” says the singer, 35, over the phone from his home “on a cliff” in upstate New York’s Catskill Mountains. “I didn’t have insurance, I never went to the doctor. I didn’t know it, but I was slowly dying.”