Rod Picott’s sixth album finds him in fine form as he continues to chronicle the ups and (mostly) downs of small town America in a masterful fashion. Coming in the wake of a relationship ending there’s a sense of loss in some of the songs and the feel of the album is for the most part downbeat although there are glimmers of a grim humour here and there.
Funded via a successful Kickstarter campaign Picott has elected to hire a producer for the first time (R. S. Field who’s worked with Hays Carll and Justin Townes Earle) and recorded with a new group of East Nashville musicians although he maintains his habit of co writing several songs with his old buddy Slaid Cleaves. There’s no fresh direction here but the album sounds assured and there is some strong playing from the assembled cast with guitarists Dave Coleman and Lex Price in sparkling form while Jennie Oken adds some fine harmony vocals. It’s less gritty than its predecessor, Welding Burns but more than makes up for that in the tenderness exhibited on several of the songs. While Picott opens with the pointed breakup song You’re Not Missing Anything and revisits love lost on Just A Memory you get the feeling that although he might have been hurting inside he just gritted his teeth and got on with his job and while the songs just don’t quite hit the high tide mark achieved on the previous album there is much to admire here. All The Broken Parts is another paean to lost love which is on a par with Roy Orbison’s melodramas and Might Be Broken Now appears to accept that what’s over is over and it’s time to move on. Delivered with a wonderfully dreamlike country waltz style as pedal steel keens and fiddle weeps this is a beautiful little number.
Picott still has some grit in him however as 65 Falcon clatters into view with a chunky percussive beat while Where No One Knows My Name revisits the hard times endured by the denizens of Welding Burns scraping a living and harassed by the cops. Mobile Home is the tragicomic tale of a couple proud of their tin can palace despite their neighbour who only plays Aerosmith intruding on their patch before eventually they part and the mobile home is sold on to another couple doomed to repeat the story. Finally Picott delivers Milkweed, a fine lilting country lament to an old worthy buried in “the one suit he ever owned,” a fine tribute to a way of life that is disappearing replaced by grime, poverty and a lack of dignity.
Picott is touring the UK in October and November and pitches up in Glasgow on the 10th November at the Woodend Bowling Club.