AboutTommy Pickett’s songwriting is up-tempo and folky, with a heartbeat.
He has a unique and engaging style, displaying a social conscience and lyrical sense which draw the listener in.
“If a cluster of Paul Simon songs collided in outer space with a pile of Neil Young songs, then the whole flaming inferno was hosed down by a Leonard Cohen fire-truck, and the pieces were swept up, after hours by Jack Johnson, whistling a Paul Kelly song … Tommy Pickett would probably be to blame for the whole mess.”
You can do one of two things:
2. Send me your postal address
I’ll pop a CD in the mail and send you an account number and charge you $12.
If you’re broke I’ll post you one anyway and you can make me a samwich.
It’ll be packaged and available for purchase in the coming weeks. This is the record I always wanted to make. It’s organic and crunchy, with enough caffeine and sugar to get you from Auckland to Huntly if the traffic’s smooth.
My producer Rhys D Webb, saint and scholar that he is, rolled with my wish to do the basic guitar/voice tracks live and at the same time and have not a click-track in sight.
The record features Sarah Corbett on vocals and Piano, Rhys D Webb on bass, assorted guitars and mandolin, Marcel Hadden on drums and percussion, Goldie Rutherford on extra guitars, Daniel Lawrence on Extra vocals, and Eamon Dilworth on trumpet.
These 6 songs seemed to belong together even though they date all the way from 2001 ‘til now.
Dive Deep demo
Ten Miles Away demo
Tastefully crafted at Fraser Rose Studios by the scarily talented Rhys D Webb … who, as I write this, is mixing my record. I feel all christmassy!
I'm shifting home to NZ in March
I’m optimistic and acutely sad and there’s a sense of a sharp corner being turned on skidding wheels.
I flew here in 2008. Crispin riverdanced his bare feet across rainy concrete at Sydney airport to take my bags and bustle me to Maroubra beach where he and Steffi gave me lodgings and a place to reload with salty ocean trimmings.
I assembled and hauled Real-estate signs with Gav, Brad and Simon for three months then piled into a Van with 3-Quarters Hazel and Goldie and Marcel and travelled up to Byron. The Bluesfest finished and I stayed in Byron bay to become a world-famous songwriter.
I was equipped with a guitar, 5 teeshirts two pairs of jeans, $100 that Brent Moetara generously lent me and holes in my shoes which couldn’t possibly matter because the weather was too nice.
It then rained for 3 months while I hitchhiked, busked and sold veggies … paying my rent in coinage (Stroppy Dutch landladies love that).
I noticed how easily a person can become homeless or lost. It occurred to me the only difference between me and those sleeping rough is having someone to call. Spider would show up from somewhere, around noon, with his headband and his bristles and play his guitar with 5 strings and sing with his one lung … and later I’d see him pushed against a wall by the cops while they searched his bag and confiscated his unopened bottle of wine. It wasn’t even dark yet.
I’d show up on my borrowed bike, at noon and play my songs facing the pedestrian crossing by the bank. I’d do better than Spider because my clothes were clean and my voice worked properly. When I realised I needed to get out of here … I phoned Michelle and said "Can you help me. I need to come home to my friends." She said, "Get on a plane Tommy" … and gave me a room and found me a job.
I’m sorry Spider. I hope next time round you have someone to call.
Sydney took me in and gave me friends and means and celebrations like it always has.
I worked with a big guy with autism, who’s fear made him angry and being angry made him break things and hit people, so he was always confronted by strangers and police. Me and some good people took him on, wrestled with him in his kitchen and, told him everything was going to be better now … and we didn’t leave him, and things did get better for him. They still are. I feel good about that.
I moved in with Gav, Fi, Evie, and Ed and there were lawn parties and fairy lights and late nights and it was great …
I met a girl and simultaneously decided it was time to grow up and transform my life. She was spectacular and I figured I was too, so I seized and married her and we started down a road I thought I understood and was equipped for.
I didn’t … and we weren’t.
Steiner College took me in, and gave me new friends who were warm and brave and open.
I want to hang onto those friends better than I’m doing but it’s hard.
Marcel grabbed my lapels and compelled me to take a bunch of these songs and do something with them.
Jefferson Grove, through some adversity, made an album … It’s real and it’s finished and I feel pretty good about that too.
18 months ago I clambered out of the forest in my rags and felt sunlight on my face and realised my life is still mine and there’s still a chunk of it left.
I lived by the beach and was shown, by an angel, that all the plumbing in my heart still works.
Feverish stuff … love, tears, crazy desire, jealousy, wild insecurity and bliss … All still up and running … Just needed a jumpstart by a hundred volt Babyfox battery.
Now I’m flash-frying my music.
My friend Rhys is helping me make the record I always wanted to make. It’s breezy and rolling and there’s trumpets!
I’m singing to people for ten hours every weekend and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I mangle my hands and overwork my tonsils (I don’t actually have tonsils), but people dance and like what I’m doing and that feels unutterably good.
It’s a strange lull now. In these few weeks I have to figure out flights, shipping and what to do with 8 years of stuff.
So many people I love and want to keep are here, in Sydney … but the reality is their lives are changing and moving on as quickly and unpredictably as mine. I’m already lonely. The Tasman sea’s merely an addition. I don’t say that in a lamenting way. Unlike Spider, I know I could pick up a phone and my best people are all within reach.
Passage of time is the lonely part.
It’s a steady, unfailing super-engine that Rolls Royce would be proud of. Take your eye off it for a little while and it’s changed everyone’s faces, lives and proximities. That’s scary, The day I turned 30 my hair started going away and my only thought was, "Shit! We’ve all gotta hurry up!"
As I write this my recently-fixed front tooth is in my front jeans pocket and dentists don’t work on weekends … which is when gigs are, and I look like a convict and can’t make an ‘F’. I’m grateful for things that are funny.
I’m grateful for my big-hearted Mum beckoning from Waiheke island. Her eyesight is sending the same message my hairline’s sending me.
I feel like these are the years we all have to be brave. Or maybe you mostly all are already, and it’s time for me to catch up. Visit me in Auckland.
I’ll be back heaps anyhow ‘cos I’ll miss my Sydney friends and I’m a sook.
Check out my band Jefferson Grove!
Our album, released last year is available for purchase on all online stores and all major streaming services.
Find Jefferson Grove on jeffersongrove.net