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Rod Picott

Welding Burns – 2011 (Welding Rod)

Reviewed by Jason MacNeil

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CDs by Rod Picott

Maine based singer-songwriter Rod Picott sounds like he deserves a far wider audience than he currently has. With his impressive "Tiger Tom Dixon's Blues" album now a decade old, the roots/alt.-country performer latest effort could be seen as his own vignette on current America and "the loss of blue collar jobs" as he puts it. And the result is a very poignant, well-crafted collection of songs that would make casual listeners definitely take notice.

The opening track sets the stage as Rust Belt Fields is a tender, Springsteen-leaning gem about the industries that were once in Middle America, but are no longer there. Fiddler Amanda Shires also lends her sweet harmonies, which only enhances it. Meanwhile the title track has a blueprint musically akin to Tom Petty's You Don't Know How It Feels, which glides along effortlessly.

Perhaps the highlight a tender, haunting Black T-Shirt that could have fallen off of "Nebraska" as the lyrics are wrapped around an adorable melody that slowly grows, but is still rather quiet and close. Yet from there the singer branches off into 410, a punchy, rolling song about a man and his gun and left with no other means to survive.

Picott can balance the softer with the rowdier better than most, as the mid-tempo ramble behind Sheetrock Hanger has a swaying quality about it despite the song have a darker quality to it in some respects. However, as it is with the short Little Scar, Picott's performance on Jealous Heart is easily pulled off thanks to help from pedal steel from Alex McCollough.

Near the end, the artist again brings out his inner Springsteen circa "Devils & Dust" with the gentle Your Father's Tattoo that shines. But that's pretty much the rule to this album in that everything Picott touches turns to gold here.