Rod Picott “Paper Hearts & Broken Arrows”

Welding Rod Records, 2022

Picott returns with a sometimes achingly sad album of fantastic songs.

The arrival of a new Rod Picott is like having a welcoming hug from an old friend who you finally meet up with after a long Covid break. Warm, affectionate and welcoming. Picott’s fourteenth release doesn’t disappoint – another collection of heartfelt, honest and memorable tunes, that affect the listener from the get go.

His lengthy career to date has meant that, he also admits, that his voice has changed a little and he’s really proud of how it sounds on these songs. And so he should be – he’s so effective singing these choice cuts. With the likes of Juan Solodzano on pedal steel and slide guitar; Lex Price on bass and tenor guitar; Evan Hutchings on drums and the astoundingly talented producer /videographer Neilson Hubbard who also helps out with piano, harmonies and percussion – you have a fantastic team to bring out these best on these songs.

We open with the achingly honest ‘Lover’ – a hymn for the mature individual still searching for true love – an acoustic gem if ever the was one. Piano tinkering and a ominous sounding guitar opens the next – ‘Revenuer’ – a tale of the law trying to catch up with the narrator and is a wonderfully raucous contrast to the opener. One of my favourite tracks is next – ‘Mona Lisa’ – another song about the path to find true love later in life and it’s just gorgeous.

Commenting on the recording of the album, Picott admits that when he recorded the song ‘Sonny Liston’, about the boxer’s tragic career, he remembers the song is so intimate and vulnerable that tears flowed from the singer when it was played back to him. So telling and it’s another fantastic song with a soft lilt ,accentuated by a lovely rock guitar lick that perfectly exemplifies the subject matter. Another album highlight.

Through The Dark’ is a co-write with his regular collaborator Slaid Cleaves and is yet another stand out track, with a beautiful tune supported by a more up temp feel for the chorus – magnificent. On the achingly sad ‘Valentines Day’, Picott’s mature voice brings the poignancy of the narrator, lonely on his own on Valentine’s Day, to almost bring tears in the listener this time.

Picott’s complex relationship with his father comes to the fore again on this album in more than one song – but it’s focused intensely on ‘Mark Of Your Father’, with some choice and beautiful lyrics and an acoustic tune enhanced by some soft percussion that’s introduced half way through.

Picott was always a master musician and lyricist – and this album is really special – chock full of fantastic songs that will linger in the listeners mind for ages after first listening. Simply masterful.

9/10
9/10

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