Home Jason's Jukebox The Chat Room: David Picco

The Chat Room: David Picco

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It’s safe to say that we’ve all been through some changes over the past few years, but for singer-songwriter David Picco, some major upheavals prompted him to try to rediscover joy in his life by getting back to basics with his music. A native of St. John’s, NL, David has recently been splitting his time between Toronto and Austin, TX, and his recent journey is chronicled on his new album Until Now, 10 songs infused with the ragged-but-right spirit of vintage roots rock, with lyrics steeped in hard-earned life lessons.

Working with a tight crew led by guitarist Jimmy Bowskill of the Sheepdogs and Blue Rodeo (who also engineered Until Now at his Ganaraska Recording Co. in Cobourg, ON), David and his additional supporting players—Ian McKeown on drums and pedal steel and Steve O’Connor of the Jim Cuddy Band on keyboards—blazed through four days of sessions in spring 2023 with the result being an album that runs the gamut of emotions.

The album’s rocking side is best displayed on the first single, “Still Doubt It,” with its instantly memorable chorus and swampy groove punctuated by David cutting loose on a fuzzed out guitar solo. But the overall theme of Until Now is best summed up on the title track, which closes out the record. Overtop a Faces-esque loose-limbed backing, David sings, “I don’t know if I went wrong, but heaven knows it won’t be long / I never said that I was strong – until now.”

Until Now builds on the foundation of David’s previous album Live It Down from 2021, which Americana UK described as, “a thoughtful space somewhere between Kurt Vile and John Prine,” and Great Dark Wonder called, “a set of songs that fits the mood of the day… a refreshing, stirring mix of homespun and folk-roots.”

Having paid his dues within the Canadian music scene since the mid-2000s, David Picco has merely been biding his time in the shadows of this country’s best singer-songwriters—until now. The album is available at Bandcamp, Spotify and Apple Music.

 

Until Now has a really loose and lively feel about it. What was the recording process like, and did you have a good time making it?

This is the most fun I’ve ever had making a record, no doubt about it. The songs were so new, and nobody had heard any of them at all. I would show them a song, and we’d work out a few little things and then just go for it. We worked from noon until midnight every session, and the whole record was done in four days. The main crew of Jimmy Bowskill, Steve O’Connor, and Ian Mckeown were just incredible to worth with. Alison Corbett played some amazing fiddle on a few songs, and Grady Caplin played some really sweet pedal steel on a few songs.

Lyrically, though, some of the songs explore some of the life challenges you experienced over the past few years. Did writing become a cathartic process for you?

Yeah, a lot of the time it is, but these days I’ve learned to have more fun with songwriting and not second guess myself so much. I do tend to write in bursts though, and I wish it was more consistent. Lately when I feel like it’s just not happening, I put on some of my favourite records and play along with them like I used to in high school. Although, the records are a little mellower now!

You spent some time living in Austin. What was that like?

Living in Austin was one of the highlights of my entire life. Everybody was so friendly and laid back — just incredible. I didn’t know a single person there when I drove from St. John’s, and pretty much right away I made some awesome friends. I managed to play some shows and get my music around a bit. It was by far the coolest place I’ve ever spent some real time in. It’s all about the music all the time. Not the music business, just music. There are bands playing everywhere and just kicking ass. I was there for about four amazing months, and then I had to move on. I hope to live there someday. What a place.

You cover Townes Van Zandt’s “Still Lookin’ For You” on the album. What has his music meant to you as a songwriter?

Yeah, that’s a song I was playing around the studio, and Jimmy suggested recording it. I gotta say, it came out really nice. Townes Van Zandt is definitely among my favourite songwriters. He’s just undeniable. This song is off one of his later albums, and it doesn’t seem like a lot of people know it, even Townes fans. I think we really did it justice.

What are some of your plans to support Until Now for the rest of the year?

This summer I’m playing a bunch of solo dates in Toronto and a couple of out-of-town dates. I’ll also be doing another band show as well. Then in the fall, I’m gonna do some touring and keep pushing this record.

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