Welding Rod (label)
06 September 2019 (released)
16 August 2019
Last year, Rod Picott underwent a week or so of heart problems coupled with back surgery that left him in a deeply contemplative mood. This album comes from songs written during that period and definitely show the depth of feeling and inward sighting he found during that period.
I was shocked at just how intense the recording is and how honest it all is too.
All acoustic, you just get Picott’s soft vocals, his guitar and occasional harmonica. It is impossible to play as background music and I even found that writing the review was difficult while listening to the album; if it is playing you simply cannot get your attention anywhere else.
Inevitably, his music draws comparison with others but he is a remarkably original writer and performer – along with his long time writing partner Slaid Gleaves – and he has a particular knack for writing songs that talk to themes that most people have seen somewhere in their lives.
Take ‘Mama’s Boy’ – a childhood tale of a family of pugilists who would get together to watch the big fights and set the children up against each other. All except one who was not up to the action, the Mana’s Boy.
Or ‘Spartan Hotel’ where he describes the worst of three local venues that a local covers band might play at – needless to say, the one that Picott got his start at.
I would say that my personal favourite number is ‘A .38 Special in a Hermes Purse’ which he wrote to attempt to describe how it feels to be so close to your own mortality. It has the ring of truth about it and a real depth that has darkness at the bottom of the well.
In some ways he reminds me of Malcolm Holcombe – a personal favourite – but without Holcombe’s 80 cigarettes a day voice. He has the same intensity and subtle brutality in his darkest songs but he can also write a song such as ‘Folds Of Your Dress’ which takes you to a place of deep desire and wishing.
A superb album, even if it isn’t easy much of the time.