Rod Picott “Welding Burns”
Nobody does beaten down quite like Rod Picott. “Nobody remembers your name/just for working hard” goes the refrain on the opening “Rust Belt Field”, one man’s life after the destruction and outsourcing of America’s manufacturing industry. There’s a different take on the same problem on “410”, where a worker takes to armed robbery as a last resort but knows that his shotgun is “enough to get you into trouble/not enough to get you out” and has fallen so low that he’s completely resigned to being killed.
A blue collar chronicler par excellence, what makes this album different from Picott’s previous releases is the almost complete absence of hope for his protagonists. They’re all at the bottom or as good as, with no prospect of escape and not even a sniff of love to pull them through.
It’s a bleak outlook but Picott reflects his times, and anyone who knows the current state of Detroit for example might think he’s being optimistic. Will Kimbrough plays guitar and sometime compadre Amanda Shires fiddles and sings but this is Picott’s album and vision. He is a singer of rare integrity, helped no doubt by having lived the life he writes about before making his debut a decade ago. This is an album to cement his reputation and quietly, unassumingly, he may just be the best of the current crop of Americana singer-songwriters.