True to You
Every once while you get to eat a few words, and much more rarely, you enjoy the way they taste. Running a recording facility is, I guess, much like any artist-related business. You get to share you're time with every character under the stars. It seems that everyday I am newly amazed by the traveling character caravan. When I first met Nate, he was a walking nerve factory. He was absolutely sure he had questions, but had no idea where to start. I quickly learned he was on a summer hiatus and had some material he was interested in getting on tape. Maybe even an attempt at a record. He stumbled through the usual questions, booked some time and quietly left. Great, another kid who thinks he's a star. I pretty much forgot about him until two weeks later, when his initial session came due. I remember our session had been set at 7:10, a time I thought odd, but paid little attention. He showed up with a guitar case, a wad of notes, and twice as many active nerves as he had exhibited in our last meeting. We exchanged awkward hellos and made our way to the studio. We chatted briefly while he unpacked, and began to set up. So let's give this a shot, I remember saying casually, and that was the last casual moment of the evening. Mic's placed, tape rolling, here we go. Then it happened. What came next was more than just Instrument and player, lyrics and chord progressions, it was, well... music. Real music. As he strummed his guitar and voiced the simple melody of Innocence, the sound from the monitors seemed to carry a coolness that contradicted the studio's humid summer air. For the next few hours, I learned that the man in the next room had something to say, and better yet, something worth more than hearing, but deserving a real listen. In that first session, I had been stripped of my cynicism and caught by one of the rarest studio occurrence... actual talent. Nate maintains the elusive balance between opposites, strong and centered without ever squashing looseness or freedom. An explanation of instinctive talent is like trying to describe color, it simply can be done no justice, it must be felt. Experienced. To me, more than style, or chops, or vocal prowess, it was the human being that stood out most. There was no pretension, no phoniness to his playing, and a quiet wisdom to his lyrics reaching far outside the confines the average twenty-something. The next few weeks were a series of renewed surprises. From the playful lyrical dance of 'Girls Best Friend' to the raw and honest voicing of 'Last Chance', or the social satire of 'Never Take My Home', I was continually impressed by each new song. Each as new and as fresh as the last. Careful never to forsake a genuine moment for a musical cliché, his candor seems to add realness to his writing. Different while precise, like a 7:10 arrival time. The consistency and quality of his material began to change my outlook with every session, instead of surprise, by the end I began to expect good songs, and of course, like clockwork, he delivered. In just over six weeks, I had gone from cynic to fan. Yep, every once in a while you get to eat a few words, and if you get the chance to meet Nate Picowicz, and, like me, mistake his intensity for nerves or naiveté, you too will be granted a meal. Nine songs. Nine stories. Delicious. -Dave March.