Jerry David DeCicca :: Burning Daylight


Earlier this year, Texas songwriter Jerry David DeCicca released his second solo album, Time the Teacher. A jazzy excursion into cosmic country soul, it paired intimate words — about watermelons, rivers, and sacred spaces — with expansive sounds. It turns out JDD wasn’t done for the year: late last month, he released another full-length record: Burning Daylight via Super Secret Records. Though it shares a naturalistic immediacy with its predecessor, the new lp is cut from a different cloth. These 11 songs, recorded at Sonic Ranch studios in West Texas, find DeCicca offering beautiful ways to reject so much of our present moment’s ugliness. It’s a lean set of tunes; working with a crack band including drummer Gary Mallaber (whose playing can be heard on Bruce Springsteen’s Lucky Town, a favorite of Jerry’s, as well as Gene Clark and Van Morrison records), DeCicca offers raw and driving heartland rock. It’s an album about recognizing the world around you, not the one on a phone screen or cable news broadcast. Sometimes, what DeCicca sees results in anger. On “Cutting Down the Country,” a searing Tom Petty-style rocker, he seethes about urban sprawl, “cookie cutter towns” and “cookie cutter cities.” “We’re cutting down the country/won’t grow back,” DeCicca sings, raging about what’s been lost and can’t be regained. But more often, DeCicca’s gaze captures rare beauties. On “Cactus Flower,” he explores the resiliency of desert plant life; “Devil’s Backbone Bar” extols the simple virtues of a good bar with a jukebox “full of gems” “like Haggard and Coe and a little Billy Joel.” It’s a joyful record, and cuts like “Dead Man’s Shoes,” which features the scorching backing vocals by Eve Searls, “I Watched You Pray,” and “Bed of Memories,” with their chiming guitars and country rock choogle, feel custom made to be played on some roadhouse stage, late in the night. It’s the kind of record that comes from years of seeing and listening. JDD cites Lou Reed, Warren Zevon, Elliott Murphy, Graham Parker, Bob Dylan, John Mellencamp, Tom Petty, and Springsteen as inspirations, noting “I wrote and recorded this album with a spirit and urgency of my old heroes,” and like those songwriters, he understands the value of experience. “I walked here,” DeCicca sings on the closing number. “My legs are tired and it took me years.” The years alive in these songs resonant. words/j woodbury