Rod Picott (USA)
The thrum of insects on a hot August night. A saw blade biting kiln-dried hemlock. The lonesome highway whine of long-haul trucks. A crude swallow of cheap whiskey that tears at your throat. Tears of loss and the easy laughter of old friends. This is the sound of Rod Picott’s world.
Over twenty-three years, twelve albums, three published books and a few thousand shows Rod Picott has worked; powered by the fuel of the blue-collar world he was born into. The son of a hard-drinking welder and a homemaker, Picott’s youth set him on a road of self-reliance and fierce independence that at fifty-eight years still runs through his blood. Raised in the small town of South Berwick Maine, Rod Picott was a restless and rebellious youth and after high school a construction worker by trade until moving to Nashville TN. in 1994. He turned down the one record deal he was offered at the start of his career and did not look in the rearview mirror; choosing instead to cut his own path and lay a bet on his own hard work.
“My parents had that worry over my future that all parents have. Their dream for me was to be an electrician at the shipyard but by fifteen years old I’d already seen Chrissie Hynde in leather pants so I sort of had other things on my mind – and they weren’t in South Berwick Maine.” – R.P.
Through luck and white-knuckled determination Picott has been fortunate to open a tour for Alison Krauss and Union Station, play the Shrewsbury Folk festival, appear several times on the BBC2 Bob Harris sessions, play the Maverick Festival and receive the “Song of the Year” award for his co-write (w/Slaid Cleaves) “Broke Down” at the Austin Music Awards.
Rod Picott’s latest album, tentatively titled Starlight Tour, was produced by musician and filmmaker Neilson Hubbard (John Prine, Lucinda Williams) Starlight Tour features some of Picott’s sharpest writing to date. The album ponders the songwriter’s own difficult past and peers into an uncertain future. The album has a feel of noir cinema. There is a darkness and uncertainty roiling through the collection of songs but there is also hope and grace shadowing alongside.
She said he was my daddy but I ain’t so sure
Might have been just another bad night’s cure
He was good to my mama and the liquor store
But he don’t come around here no more
(From “Starlight Tour”)
I was just out of the army
Not a boy not a man
Two tours out in the jungle
Of Viet goddamn nam
It scrambled something in my head
Left me shaking down inside
In the place no one can see
And stripped of my pride
I came home on a dc 10
changed my clothes in an airport stall
Kept my head down low
They were spitting on us for answering the call
Made my way to Florida
a greyhound bus to pelican bay
I met Mary in a diner on the ghost of my last pay
(From “Pelican Bay”)
Picott is a writer who mines the invisible, downtrodden, working-class men and women of the background he comes from. He does this with the grace and dignity only someone who knows the splinters of that life firsthand can conjure. Picott has remarked that this could possibly be his last fully realized recording as his future work steers toward the literary world where he has three more finished books seeking publication.
“I’m not reinventing the wheel. These songs have been sung before. But what I bring is detail only someone who has lived that blue-collar life can bring. I can tell you what it feels like to dig a metal burr from your fingertip with a utility knife; I can tell you how holding 110 pounds of sheetrock over your head day after day slowly crushes your shoulders. This is what I bring” R.P.
Songs like Raymond Carver short stories”
– Houston Chronicle
– No Depression
– Rolling Stone.com
“A truly great songwriter”
– 3rd Coast Music
“Great writing is all about story,
and Rod is so damn good at story”
– Mary Gauthier
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