Local singer-songwriter David Picco lays it on the line with his fifth studio album Out of the Past
In 2015, David Picco released the poignantly titled Start Again. Made following a 12 year stint living and working in Toronto, the album marked a brave new chapter for Picco, for an effort described by Exclaim! as “driven.”
Out of the Past
That is the case and more for Picco’s fifth studio album Out of the Past, a record that is, at the same time, progressive and modern while tipping a hat and eye to a bygone era.
“I wanted it to kind of be a classic sounding album and classic sounding in my terms kind of means not too much of a throwback,” Picco shared.
“I didn’t sit there and say ‘OK, I’m going to make a retro sounding album.’ It’s just that when I wrote all the songs and they started to come together it did start becoming clear that there was definitely a retro element to the stuff, which is the case for most of my stuff. I mean I’m really influenced by Dylan, Neil Young, Lou Reed, Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle. A lot of people are saying Tom Petty, which is cool, I like Tom Petty a lot too. I think it’s a pretty cohesive album. It just came together nicely I think.”
Heart on his sleeve
No stranger to wearing his heart on his sleeve as a songwriter, Picco, perhaps unintentionally found himself in a reflective state during the songwriting for Out of the Past.
“When the songs started to come together I started to notice that they were pretty reflective,” he says. “I was thinking about some stuff that has happened in the recent past and further back. I spent a long time away and moving back has been a big change. I’ve been back five years now but I was away 12. You know, adjusting to moving back was pretty tough at times. I guess when I started writing the songs I started to notice that they were pretty reflective and pretty personal. I don’t set out to write personal songs. I just tend to write in that vein.”
Picco moved to Ontario from Newfoundland at 22, taking the plunge at his attempt to make it as a singer-songwriter. Inspired by local friends in the industry, Picco developed an honest and naturalistic approach to songwriting, putting out his first album at 25.
Back in the saddle
Returning to the island over a decade later, Picco assesses the ever evolving music scene that helped shape him as a younger man.
“It had changed for sure,” he admits. “It was fairly welcoming but it was harder than I thought to just come back from being away and just get out and play. I felt a little bit displaced for awhile to be honest. I wasn’t sure where I was fitting in around here, but that’s just the way it is when you move anywhere. And it wasn’t long before I was back and I had a band together and I was out playing shortly after.”
Out of the Past saw Picco reunite with Krisjan Leslie at Lab Of Chaos in St. John’s with his tried and true band of guitarist Sean Murray, keyboardist Ryan Kennedy, drummer Chris Donnelly and bassist Paddy Byrne.
Looking back on his path as a musician, Picco advises prospective artists to chase dream and ambition, but do so with a clear head and honest expectations.
“I don’t know how qualified I am to give advice, but I wouldn’t really advise anybody to move anywhere with the sole ambition of making it in music, for whatever making it means these days,” he says.
“I think it’s good for anybody who’s young and curious and somewhat ambitious to travel and just see new things, just for experience because it will help with anything you’re doing in the arts. You meet a bunch of people, there’s lots of different experiences. It’s going to help you grow, one way or another. I would say go and do some livin’ and have some fun and try to learn some stuff and hopefully it reflects on the work that you do further down the road.”
David Picco’s new music can be heard on SiriusXM’s Americana Station. Out of the Past is available now. For more visit davidpicco.com