About the record:
The Black Swans released 5 critically acclaimed folk-rock albums from 2004-2012. The last of which, Occasion For Song, served as a eulogy for Noel Sayre, the friend and violinist who passed away and who DeCicca began playing with in 1995.
Understanding Land is the debut solo long player from Jerry David DeCicca.
These 10 songs were written in the Elephant & Castle neighborhood of London after 5 months of touring and traveling the US, Spain, Portugal, and the UK.
What began as demos, soon turned into the actual album when they were shared with double bassist Andy Hamill (Mark Murphy, Natacha Atlas, Tracey Thorn). Andy added bass and some gypsy slides. JDD sent tracks to pals Will Oldham and Kelley Deal and they both came back with sweet harmonies. The legendary Spooner Oldham (Muscle Shoals, Dylan, Neil Young) played Wurlitzer on 3 songs in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.
DeCicca met Will Oldham through his production and tribute 45 of Larry Jon Wilson, Kelley Deal through two tours together, and Spooner Oldham from crashing the recording session and writing the liner the notes to Testifyin', a UK compilation that comprised new recordings by Dan Penn, Tony Joe White, Donnie Fritts and others.
Everyone you hear (except Spooner who cheated and used a real studio-- The NuttHouse in Muscle Shoals, Alabama) recorded the tracks in their home, themselves. Once the digital world allowed everyone to be gathered together, it was mixed in Austin, Texas by Grammy winner Stuart Sikes (Cat Power, Loretta Lynn, White Stripes).
Understanding Land mixes a slo-mo folk doom & gloom with sense of optimism. Opener, "Before the Storm" begins "Along the pillows and cradles/ Long after all the damage had been done", using both the new holes and the new hills created by the weather as metaphor for the plus and minuses of change. "29th of June" and "Colors in the Sky" continue the record into its Weather Trilogy. "Opportunity to Love", a duet with Eve Searls, is a tender and encouraging step forward to allow more people into your life, like a folkier and more rustic "Don't Give Up". Where "Invisible Man" is about dealing with the ghost that is suicide, "I Want Nothing" is a rejection of the material world. "Bloom Again", the album's closer, is a song of re-birth that recalls the meteorological metaphors from earlier: "And I stood like a tree/ through winter's bitter schemes/ And waited my turn/ To bloom again".
Understanding Land is being self-released on CD/LP/Digital in spring 2014.
JDD: acoustic guitar, vocals, bells; Andy Hamill: double bass, cello; Sven Kahns: electric guitar, lap steel, pedal steel, percussion; Spooner Oldham: Wurlitzer; Eve Searls: backing and duet vocals; Brian Jones: hand drums; Ryan Jewell: tabla; Canaan Faulkner: piano; Tyler Evans: tiple; Julian Ferraretto: strings written and perfomed; Justin Woodward: vibraphone on "Before the Storm"; Will Oldham: vocals on "First and Last"; Kelley Deal: vocals on "Colors in the Sky".
This album was recorded by the performers, except Spooner Oldham's Wurlitzer which was recorded by Jimmy Nutt at the NuttHouse in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.
Mixed by Stuart Sikes.
Assistant Engineer by Keith Hanlon.
Mastered by Adam Bosse.
Produced by Jerry David DeCicca.
All songs written by Jerry David DeCicca (c. 2013, Understanding Land Musc, ASCAP).