From the sound of "Hang Your Hopes On A Crooked Nail," his sixth full-length, Rod Picott's voice has begun to season into something that's a cross between Kris Kristofferson and Billy Joe Shaver. And like those two country music outlaws, Picott writes and sings honest, earthy, real life story songs.
You can also hear vestiges of roots rock icons like Neil Young and Tom Petty on the harmonica-colored "Where No One Knows My Name," which finds Picott expressing a desire to simply disappear from life, in a kind of anti-social, anti-Cheers sentiment. Picott's lyrics run the emotional gamut - from highest of highs, to the lowest of lows. He's at his happiest when driving his prized American car during "65 Falcon." He sings of taking spins in with his girl. All the while, he loves when the radio plays the old stuff (of course) because nothing goes better with a classic car ride than some equally vintage music.
The rollicking, upbeat groove of "65 Falcon" is replaced by the softly picked acoustic guitar and faraway pedal steel of "Nobody Knows," where Picott sings sadly about the mysteries of death. "Do you get wings?/Or do you just fade away?" he asks, before adding, "Nobody knows."
Picott is at his funniest with "Mobile Home," where he's heard complaining about a wannabe rocker neighbor that only plays Aerosmith songs all day long. He wishes the dude would work in something a little more modern, like The Cars, but he knows that'll never happen. Clearly, mobile home life is living hell for some.
"All the Broken Parts" best sums up Picott's view of the world. Another one that includes harmonica support, this jangly folk rocker details the imperfections of daily life. Although less disgusted than Bob Dylan's "Everything's Broken," this lyric is a reminder that contentment has a whole lot to do with learning to accept both major and minor imperfections.
That Kristofferson/Shaver-like tone in Picott's singing lends him an undeniable voice of experience. So whether he's extolling virtues of a great old car or complaining about mobile home life, his words always carry much weight.