Tell The Truth & Shame The Devil.
Welding Rod Records
The Heart of Americana Unchained and Intimate
It wasn’t until I read the Press Release that I found out RMHQ Favourite Rod Picott had had some pretty serious health problems, including a ‘heart scare’ last year; but thankfully he’s come through it all with a new spring in his step and more importantly; it’s helped him create this, his latest album.
The first thing you will notice is the sparsity of the production; well…… there’s basically no ‘production’ at all, as Rod recorded every song at home and just went with his gut (and newly mended heart) as to when to press ‘record’.
There’s a definite intimacy right from the beginning, as Ghost is everything you would hope and want as a fan; from such a harrowing backstory and yes; it is as brittle and beautiful as anything Picott has ever previously recorded; in my humble opinion.
I wish I could tell you that there were surprises here; nope ….. this is just one of America’s finest songwriters doing what he does best; sometimes with his long time friend Slaid Cleaves; and when they combine their talents on Mama’S Boy the result is, as usual quite staggering. This particular tale is about the ‘overtly masculine’ world a young boy finds himself in; and it really does tug at the heartstrings.
Even though some the stories here are as grey as they are stark Picott’s warm voice brings Too Much Rain and Bailing totally engrossing for casual listeners and lifelong fans alike.
As expected Rod Picott sings about and his first hand stories examine the ‘blue collar/working man’ life better than most out there; and here he takes a couple of left turns that even by his high standards are quite staggering. I’m particularly thinking about the lament John Wallace; A 38 Special and a Hermes Purse and Spartan Hotel with it’s simple guitar and harmonica arrangement, which lesser reviewers will say sounds like Brucie circa NEBRASKA, but Rod was doing this years before Springsteen picked up an acoustic guitar; and that long apprenticeship pays off in diamonds here.
It’s particularly odd to hear Rod Picott’s voice without any technological wizardry behind it after all these years; and it’s fair to say A Guilty Man and The Folds of Your Dress benefit from this format.
Then, of course I have to select a Favourite Song…… and that’s not easy at all; especially as the quality that oozes out of every single track here means each is a contender, but my trusted ears and heart keep coming back to A Beautiful Light, mostly because the combination of wheezy harmonica, strummed acoustic guitar and a voice on the brink of cracking up plus a story means it’s something most of his peers can only ever dream of writing and recording.
It’s been a bugbear of mine for many years that far too many singer-songwriters fill their albums with all kinds of ‘bells and whistles’ that can’t or won’t be available ‘in concert’; so Rod has given us the album his talents have threatened us with for many years……. it’s all about the songs kid; and that’s all you get………. and that wonderful voice of course.
Released USA July 19th 2019
Released UK sEPTEMBER 6TH 2019