World Weary Working-man’s Blues.
I don’t know why I’ve never ‘got’ Rod Picott before now. He ticks every box I like, plus he’s best friends with Slaid Cleaves, yet I’ve not got my head around his previous releases.
Until now, that is!
From the opening rolling acoustic guitar and Dylanesque harmonica on opening track Maybe That’s What it Takes; my interest was piqued. Then Picott’s weary and slightly cracked voice goes on to tell the tale of a broken relationship through the 20/20 vision of hindsight of a man still in love. A different perspective; and a very eloquent way with words.
Still straddling the fence that separates American Folk and Americana; I would say Picott sound more ‘Country’ than ever before; especially on track #2 Elbow Grease and later the dark and slightly Gothic Uncle John; which contains lots of; what Pixar would describe as, ‘mild peril’ and I love it; especially the clunky slightly out of tune guitar licks.
Favourite tracks? Hell; there are so many!
Secret Heart is brittlely beautiful and the way his croaky voice purrs the words, brings back memories of Johnny Cash’s American Man series.
I Was Not Worth Your Love; has all the hallmarks of the song Steve Earle has been trying to write since Copperhead Road; and it’s just as angry – love it to bits!
Elbow Grease comes in at Track #2 and most songwriters would have to leave a powerful song like this until the end; but Picott has prime songs like this all the way through the album.
The title of ‘favourite track’ is between the amazing darkly brooding, a-political co-write with Slaid Cleaves, Drunken Barber’s Hand with the wonderful line ‘I don’t need to read the news/or the tea leaves to understand/that this world’s been shaped by a drunken barber’s hand’ and Until I’m Satisfied which has a funky Bluegrass meets the Blues via a night in a Honky-Tonk melody that only emphasise the razor-sharp lyrics like ‘Stop pissing in my leg/and telling me it’s rain.’
All in all a minor masterpiece of its ilk – Picott has finally won me over and I am now a convert; of the Evangelical sort – so expect me to bore you for years to come with snippets from this glorious album.
Released UK January 15th 2016
Released US October 2015