I feel as though I’ve known Rod for eons but actually it was Van that introduced him to us, giving us a copy of Welding Burns one of the first times he came to one of our house concerts. That album went on to become one of my most listened to albums of all time. Beautiful songs and the production also really suits it. Out of all his albums it’s always the first one I go to. Of course that could also be the first love thing. High Wide and Lonesome was the first Olney album I fell in love with and I always go back to that one. Anyway, Welding Burns came out around 2011 I believe, so Owen would have been about nine years old. I go up to bed early to read and Owen would come and curl up with me and we would listen to the album, eventually turning off the light and just listening to it in the darkness. Those were good moments. The first time we saw Rod live was in our beloved Lubec, Maine and after that he played here several times but it has been far too long since we’ve been fortunate enough to see him.
He DOES like to break your heart with his songs but he’s also incredibly funny and entertaining and has been just lovely to us. One of the things I love about all the folks playing at Black-Volk Fest is that apart from their musical talents, they are good and kind humans.
Here is Rod playing Owen’s favorite song. Owen was tired that night so he was already upstairs in bed but he said he could hear Rod singing it from there. I was feeling nostalgic the other day, as I am wont to do and I texted Owen and asked him if he remembered listening to that with me. He wrote back immediately and said, “but of course, with the gas station coffee, i’ll never forget!” I love that boy. Well, Rod too.
Rod Picott has released thirteen albums over the last twenty years and at the age of fifty-seven his engine is still running strong. Picott, a former construction worker, traded his hammer for a guitar and never looked into the rear view mirror. Picott has written two poetry collections God In His Slippers and Murmuration (Mezcalita Press). His book of short stories titled Out Past The Wires is published by Working Title Farm. Rod Picott was born in New Hampshire, raised in Maine and has lived in Nashville Tennessee for twenty-five years. He is unnaturally prolific and released four albums in the last three years to rave reviews.
Picott has had songs placed in television and film projects including The FX series Justified and the Michael Douglas film Solitary Man. His song “Circus Girl” was featured in the PBS documentary Circus.
Picott types with two fingers as he failed typing class – though excelled in English and Literature. Rod Picott has toured as the opening act for Alison Krauss & Union Station and won the song of the year award at The Austin Music Awards for his song “Broke Down” co-written with Slaid Cleaves. Picott’s latest release is a double cd titled Wood, Steal Dust & Dreams featuring the twenty-three songs co-written with Slaid Cleaves over the last thirty years.
2022 will see the release of Rod Picott’s fourteenth album titled Paper Hearts & Broken Arrows. It is a collection of some of the strongest songs Picott has put to tape, ranging from a heartbreaking narrative of boxer Sonny Liston’s tragic life to a full-throated and rocking declaration of loyalty. The album was produced by noted producer/ videographer Neilson Hubbard (John Prine, Lucinda Williams, Orphan Brigade). Pre-sales are accompanied by a raw collection of the acoustic demos recorded at Picott’s minimal home studio – bumped guitars, cursing, barking dogs and overhead planes are included.
Here’s a song from the new album about my beloved Washington County, Maine. Man, I worry about Maine so much. These lyrics are spot on. Fucking brilliant albeit heartbreaking.
Here he is on Music City Roots (RIP) with other friends and SLHC alums Doug and Telisha Williams from Wild Ponies.