Rod Picott

Live Review | The Greystones, Sheffield | Review by Allan Wilkinson

With warning signs all along the M18, declaring that the Woodhead Pass was closed to high-sided vehicles, I instinctively knew we were in for a windy night up at The Greystones in Sheffield, where Nashville-based singer-songwriter Rod Picott was playing a solo gig.  It’s been a while since I last saw Rod and I was eager to hear some of the songs from Rod’s new record Welding Burns in a stripped-down solo acoustic setting.  I was far from disappointed, as this is precisely what we got tonight in one of the most conducive (to music) backrooms in the city.  With fine support sets from local duo Will Barstow and Andy Davison, followed by South Dakota-based singer-songwriter Josh Harty, Picott performed almost all of the new album with one or two older songs from his repertoire thrown in, such as “Getting’ to Me”, “Angels and Acrobats” and “Stray Dogs”.  Introducing himself as ‘the Rod Picott Circus of Misery and Heartbreak’, the New Hampshire-born singer drew on reminiscences of growing up in Maine with childhood friend and fellow songwriter Slaid Cleaves, featuring some of the songs the two have collaborated on, such as “Broke Down”, “Rust Belt Fields” and the title song from the new record “Welding Burns”.  Rod was pretty upbeat between the songs, despite much of the material being less than cheerful.  With the songs on the new record clearly focusing on blue collar America with songs about work, unemployment and small town romance, there were some clearly tender moments, such as on “Little Scar” for instance, a highly personal song from the new album.  Accompanied by his sunburst Gibson, Picott held the audience throughout a dozen or so songs, each demonstrating a man who knows his song well before he starts singing.  After a rocking little finisher, “410” from the new record, Rod returned to the stage for a final song, presumably honouring a request that had just been whispered in his ear by the girl at the bar, closing his set with an older song, “Baby Blue” from his Stray Dogs period.  Top class Americana.