"First and Last" - Jerry David DeCicca (with Will Oldham)
Take a listen to one of my favorite songs from this year, the downright perfect closer on Jerry David DeCicca’s highly recommended solo debut, Understanding Land. The video is pretty much perfect, too. You may know the name from his work with Black Swans or his production work with guys like Jerry Jeff Walker and Ed Askew. But even if you’ve never heard of the dude, you’re going to like this record. It’s a dusky, understated country-folk gem, with an all-star cast of supporting musicians, including two legendary Oldhams (Spooner and Will) and the Breeders’ Kelley Deal. Understanding Land will definitely appeal to fans of Bill Callahan’s recent work, but DeCicca has his own thing going here — I think what I like most about it (aside from the gorgeous, intimate sound) is that it feels positive and life-affirming without sinking into anything remotely cornball. A lovely mix of mellowness, melancholy and beauty. Check it out, you won’t regret it.