Rod Picott has announced a new album ‘Wood, Steel, Dust & Dreams’ which will be released on May 21st. The double CD contains fresh recordings of every song that Rod has written over the past thirty years with Slaid Cleaves. Many of the songs have appeared on Rod’s and or Slaid’s past records and, says Rod, “there are a few unheard songs on here as well. This album will never appear on streaming sites and when the initial print run of 1000 copies is gone they will never be made again.”
Picott has been co-writing songs with his childhood friend and more familiar name Slaid Cleaves for thirty years. “We met on the school bus when I was eight years old and the new kid in school. Slaid says we recognized each other as the two singer-songwriter types among the hardscrabble blue-collar kids. Of course, I was one of those blue-collar kids but I had something else in mind for my own life – a life in the arts somehow. Then I went on to hang drywall for a living for eighteen body breaking years before I finally had the guts and fire to go all-in with the guitar and my groaning wound of a voice.” Picott counted up the songs they’d written together and the sum was an expansive twenty-six co-writes. “I sent Slaid a message asking how he felt about the idea – as a courtesy – I was going to do it anyway. I was surprised when he said he’d thought of it for a few years as well and gave his blessing.” Slaid says of their working relationship, “Working together, we can often see what the other is missing and help spark a new round of work on a ‘stuck’ song. I shudder to think what my catalogue would look like if I’d never worked on so many songs with my friend.”
‘Wood, Steel, Dust & Dreams’ was so specific and aimed with such focus on his die-hard fans, that Picott decided this album would be an outlier. There would be a very limited number printed, each copy numbered and signed and when they were sold out they would never be made available again. “It’s a collector’s edition. I’m thinking of it as a run of folk art prints. This album is for the folks who have sustained me over the years and want to help get me to the other side of 2020 – the scourge of years. It might be folk art but I’m not pulling any punches. There will be two CDs, beautiful artwork and an accompanying booklet that contains extensive notes on the songs themselves. Neilson Hubbard, one of Nashville’s go-to producers of the moment is at the helm so it will no doubt sound gorgeous.”
In another move, Picott is taking a defiant stance against streaming of any kind with the project. “The music industry has devoured itself. Musicians and songwriters are squeezed into a spot where if they don’t stream they feel like they can’t access the full potential of the audience that might be out there and if they do stream they basically give their work away. So, I decided I’m making the album as personal as possible. It will go from my hand to a listener’s hand. The only way you can hear this project is to buy it from me. It’s a way of keeping this piece of art between myself and the people who truly love my work.”
Picott set up pre-sales for the album and already sold enough copies to put him in the black before setting up a microphone. “Intimate, I use the word over and over. It’s not about the money. If I’d wanted to chase that particular drug I’d have gone into banking or investing. This is my life’s work. I chose this and it chose me – eventually. Or maybe it just saw I wasn’t going away and let me come in from the rain.”
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