Rock \ Country \ Folk
Rock infused country with echoes of The Velvet Underground" – Americana UK
"David Picco's new album album is full of memorable songs that are unpretentious and have great energy" – Ron Sexsmith
"Well crafted tales that connect easily with listeners who have a fond appreciation for tales of highways, heroes and underdogs"
Out of the Past
I believe that my songwriting has improved with each album that I’ve done,” Picco says. “For a period of a few years I was writing mainly downbeat songs and struggling to write anything exciting. But starting with my last album, I’ve been able to go into a more rock ‘n roll direction and my current band has played a big part in this.On his fifth album, Out Of The Past, David Picco takes a cue from the title in offering a classic alt-country collection, one that immediately echoes the gloriously raw and edgy recordings of Uncle Tupelo, Songs: Ohia and Drive-By Truckers. But in other ways the St. John’s NL singer/songwriter uses this approach to address the present with searing clarity, as he’s learned to adapt to life’s harsh realities. What can a poor boy do? The best answer is still: to play in a rock ‘n roll band.
Out Of The Past is Picco’s first release since 2015’s Start Again, made following a return to St. John’s after living in Toronto for 12 years. Although it was a critical success—Exclaim described Start Again by saying “the overall forward motion of the album is unquestionable: this is a driving album,” and it earned a MusicNL Award nomination for Best Rock Album—Picco’s intention with the self-produced Out Of The Past from the outset was to take things to the next level.
Recording again with Krisjan Leslie at Lab Of Chaos in St. John’s with his trusted band consisting of guitarist Sean Murray, keyboardist Ryan Kennedy, drummer Chris Donnelly and bassist Paddy Byrne (along with some special guests), Picco came to the studio with over 20 songs, 10 of which made the final cut once a theme came into focus. It was not so much a sense of nostalgia that permeated the material, but more of a willingness by Picco to show more sides of his personality through his music. Sure, there is pain and sadness at the core of many tracks, but also acceptance and even humour in equal measure.
They’re all top-notch musicians.”
That tone is set right out of the gate with “Down The Road And Gone,” ( currently in rotation on SiriusXM ) a song Picco describes as the most straight ahead rocker he’s ever written. And as no-nonsense tracks like “I Can’t Lose You” and “Coming ‘Round Again” play out, it feels like this is an album Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers or Blue Rodeo might have had stashed away in the vaults. “Some of the songs were written in my head as I walked my dogs, while the others were banged out on guitar in the spare bedroom,” Picco says. “Some people have noted that my songs have strong melodies and honest, heartfelt lyrics. That’s what I always aim for, since I mainly write about my life and people that I’ve been close to over the years. But I’ve also tried to become more musically diverse on the last couple of albums.”
That’s certainly the case on two of Out Of The Past’s most poignant songs, “Used To Ride” and the seven-minute title track. The former is actually the only song not written specifically for album, but created many years ago as a tribute to Picco’s father who was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident. “Out Of The Past” was likewise inspired by recent losses of close friends,
and its epic arrangement reinforces the notion that all of us, in spite of the grief, have to carry on. “In a way, that song is a tribute to everyone I've known and loved in my life,” he says. “I consider it to be one of the best songs I've written to date.”
Picco is typically modest in his assessment of his catalogue—both solo and with his former band Jetset Motel—since songs from his previous albums have been featured in the CBC television series Republic Of Doyle, and been in regular rotation on CBC Radio 2 and 3. During his time in Toronto he also worked closely with producer Don Kerr (Ron Sexsmith, Rheostatics), produced an album for Kyp Harness, and opened for the Weakerthans.
But despite the distance he must now cover from St. John’s, the trade-off for Picco has been a creative resurgence courtesy of the familiar surroundings and a close-knit group of collaborators. You don’t have to be a roots rock aficionado to fully appreciate Out Of The Past. You only have to appreciate the sound of an artist hitting his stride—with sights set directly on the future.