Jerry David DeCicca :: Time The Teacher

“Watermelon,” the second track on Jerry David DeCicca’s Time the Teacher, is an ode to – you guessed it – watermelons. With an almost nursery-rhyme like cadence and gentle backing vocals, it’s as simple a song as they come. Or is it? Through some strange alchemy, by the end of “Watermelon,” you may find yourself in wonder at the complexity and perfection of the song’s subject. That’s right -- watermelons are a goddamn miracle.

Time the Teacher is filled with these quiet moments of resonance and revelation, whether DeCicca is dealing with the death of long-lost lover or the mystical tapping of a woodpecker at dawn. Guided by producer Jeb Loy Nichols and Benedic Lamdin, the intimate vibe of the lyrics is matched by the music, which is spare and lovely. Rich piano, gospel-tinged vocals, upright bass and fluttering horns, provided by a cast of European players, all frame DeCicca's warm vocals. For touchstones, you could point back to Van Morrison's early '70s work or any number of private press LPs from the same era, but it's to the songwriter and his cohorts' credit that Time the Teacher never feels like an exercise in nostalgia. Instead, it feels vibrant and alive, even in the mellowest, most melancholy passages.

AD recently caught up with JDD via telephone from his home in Bulverde, Texas, where many of the songs on the record were formed on his front porch with a can of Tecate nearby.

Aquarium Drunkard: You made this record in a completely new way for you, working with players remotely. What did that process reveal to you?

Jerry David DeCicca: Nobody that plays on the records is American. They're all either English or European; I think the trumpet player is Italian. So there's a very European sensibility to the playing. [All the players are into] American modern jazz but have their own sensibility. They have their own sense of humor and I think to be able to have pretty rare. All the players are more experimental.

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