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Simone Felice translates tragedies and miracles into Americana stories and songs. Inspired by two near-death experiences, Felice's solo debut is a meditation on life and death, but it's hardly his first foray into heavy subject matter: He's written poetry, published novels and played in several bands, including The Felice Brothers and The Duke and the King. It wasn't until he had a heart attack at 33, though, that Felice realized he needed to swallow his self-doubt and go solo.
On today's episode of World Cafe, Felice discusses his heart attack, the birth of his first child one month later, and the way harrowing experiences fit into and inspired his music. Felice's previous projects should be familiar to listeners, but his self-titled solo album is unlike anything he's recorded before. Simone Felice revels in the quiet strength of Felice's storytelling and, in its exploration of death, celebrates life.
Few writers and public intellectuals command an audience like one currently following Ta-Nehisi Coates. But long before Coates' thoughts shaped nationwide conversations about race, justice and the black experience in America, he found his voice as a young writer in local D.C. and in the city where he grew up, Baltimore.