LAS VEGAS – While on a songwriting spree during the pandemic, David Perrico got to thinking about his hometown.
The Las Vegas-based music producer, composer, band leader and trumpet player fondly recalled growing up on Youngstown’s west side. He wanted to salute the city, whose character and traditions remain at his core.
The result is “Youngstown, Steeltown,” a seven-minute opus recorded in May by Perrico and his 68-piece Pop Symphonic orchestra, plus a group of eight singers. Perrico arranged all parts for the orchestra and also plays trumpet on the song. Rocky Brown co-wrote the lyrics with Perrico and also arranged the vocal parts. CHECK OUT THE VIDEO HERE.
“Youngstown, Steeltown” will appear on Pop Symphonic’s upcoming album, “Sidewalks,” which will be released July 1. The song and video were recorded at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts in Las Vegas.
Perrico’s DPG Enterprises employs 100 musicians and manages 12 bands in the casino city, where he has lived for the last two decades.
But the Chaney High School and Dana School of Music graduate simply cannot forget the city that shaped him.
“It’s important for people to remember where they cut their teeth,” he said in a phone interview. He credits Youngstown for his work ethic and never-quit approach during hard times.
“People there learn to adapt,” he said. “They are quick to think on their feet and hustle, to make a buck. That work ethic gave me the drive I needed out here.”
Perrico also credits the musical mentorship he got in the city, citing some of his instructors: Tony Leonardi and Esotto Pellegrini at YSU, and Bill Gonda and Joe Danko when he was still in middle school and high school. Perrico actually began taking trumpet lessons from Pellegrini when he was 12.
In “Youngstown, Steeltown,” Perrico layers a confident and clear trumpet melody over the lush orchestra. At intervals, the vocalists take turns singing lines about the city and its enduring pull.
“Something keeps on calling me back there, and I know it will always be home.
“It’s the people who give this city it’s heart and soul.
“All the ones who lived here before us, all the ones who raised and adored us.
“The memories and lessons they taught that made us who we are.”
Brier Hill, “Sunday sauce” and the city’s long list of sports greats also get mentions.
The upcoming album will include “Youngstown, Steeltown,” and nine other new songs written and arranged by Perrico and performed with Pop Symphonic.
While Perrico’s orchestra “can play everything from Beyonce to Beethoven,” it specializes in reworking pop songs with a full-bodied Vegas flair. He’s already thinking of a follow-up album that will focus on covers of songs by the likes of Earth Wind and Fire and Bruno Mars.
Perrico is also the leader of the Raiders House Band, which performs at all Las Vegas Raiders home football games. His next visit to Ohio will be as an ambassador for the NFL team.
On Aug. 6, former Oakland Raiders wide receiver Cliff Branch will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, and Perrico and the Raiders House Band will perform at the event.
“[Raiders owner] Mark Davis wanted his Raiders band to be there,” Perrico said.
Pictured above: Trumpet in hand, David Perrico leads his Pop Symphonic orchestra in performing “Youngstown, Steeltown” at Reynolds Hall at the Smith Center for the Performing Arts in Las Vegas in May.