“…a deeply fulfilling collection of dusty country-folk and graceful love letters with revealing heart.” – NO DEPRESSION
“Stellar songwriting…an album to be savoured and shared.”– HALIFAX MUSICPHILE
“Delightful…it offers a warmth we often forget exists.” – HEROHILL
“NNNN” – NOW MAGAZINE
“…wonderfully engaging…its beauty lies in its simplicity” – AMERICANA UK
Chris Picco’s latest solo release The Beach is a masterful collection of timeless songs from one of Newfoundland’s most accomplished songwriters. Recorded mostly live off the floor over two weekends in the fall of 2012, The Beach captures inspired performances from a stellar band of friends (fiddle, mandolin, acoustic guitar, piano, upright bass and drums) and a songwriter at the top of his game. On this, his third solo record and first in over five years we find the charismatic front-man and chief songwriter for psychedelic folk-rockers The Long Distance Runners paring things down and getting back to his roots. The result is an intimate offering that swings across folk, country and pop boundaries, the emphasis on Picco’s vocal delivery with subtle instrumental back-ups.
From the strikingly vulnerable vocals and catchy choruses of the opening country number “Rodeo Girl” to the stirring hypnotic piano-heavy groove of the ghostly closing track “In Your Light”, The Beach encapsulates the past few years of Picco’s life with sincere reflections and insightful turns of phrase. Recent life changing events like marriage and fatherhood are celebrated and fearlessly acknowledged in strikingly beautiful ballads like “You’re So Real”, “Worth Believing” and “The Good Within” while family tragedy is faced with raw emotional honesty in the hauntingly poignant title track composed in memory of his late mother Catherine.
“This is an album I have wanted to do for years”, says Picco. With The Runners in between records and the encouragement of his close friend and co-producer/engineer Krisjan Leslie (Long Distance Runners/The Once/Mark Bragg), Picco was emboldened to step it up and make a genuinely simple and honest record. From the classic album artwork capturing a day in the life at home with his family to the guerilla-style low budget videos (co-produced with director Brad Gover) accompanying the record, Chris has accomplished the personal touch he set out for.
Well timed detours keep us enthralled on pointed songs such as the foot stomping “Real Estate Man” with its sawing fiddle and thrashing acoustic guitar that takes us on a hilarious ride through the current real estate boom in Chris’ hometown of St. John’s. His astute sense of humour and animated vocals carry on through to the colourful jazzy number “Let’s Talk About Love” and infectious protest sing-along waltz “Johnny Came Home” sung with a deadpan delivery in classic Kris Kristofferson or John Prine style.
Picco has made an enduring and mature record that continues to enthrall upon repeated listening. In this fast moving age of technological advancement, The Beach with its frank and simple arrangements coupled with unforgettable melodies and lyrics is a refreshingly ageless record from one of Canada’s finest emerging artists.