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Rod Picott

STRAY DOGS (Welding Rod) • Rod Picott

If someone asks you "What is Americana, exactly?" tell them to buy a copy of Stray Dogs. Everything good that Americana is, it's right here. Great narrative songwriting, authentically smoky vocals (he's a Yankee from NH and ME, and there's no acquired twang) and a carload of great players that don't give a damn.

And hot guest stars, don't forget them. Old pal and co-writer Slaid Cleaves sings on "River Runs" and Alison Krauss (look out) gilds the lovely "Circus Girl." Rod co-wrote Slaid's breakthrough song, "Broke Down," which went to the top of the Gavin Americana chart. But it really rang my bell to hear he wrote "Getting to Me" with fireball Fred Eaglesmith on 50 Odd Dollars, that makes him the man where I come from.

Speaking of the man, David Henry turns in another beautiful production/engineering job. He's a hot ticket to a great record, not to mention he plays incredible cello, keys, percussion, electric guitar and whatever else you got laying around. I was lucky to run into him and his family at Cheeseburger Charley's, he took a card and Rod sent me this great new sophomore disc. Rod's debut, Tiger Tom Dixon's Blues, attracted very impressive press and attention on several continents. Those cowrites helped seal his reputation, and a tour opening for Alison Krauss put the cat on a roll.

There's a real musical range of tunes here. The title song is a little reglar for me, but it's a hot radio track. I love the next more colorful batch of chords on "Baby Blue" and the ominous empty echo and tremolo of "Work Shirts and Turpentine," hell yeah. What he's selling is what he is, and that's mighty cool.

Craig Krampf on drums was an inspired choice for the sessions, he's one of Nashville's great hitters. His unbelievable juice really drove the point home. He and Paul Slivka on bass played like muscle and bone. The producer's brother Ned appears on violin--the Henry brothers are one of the amazing things about Nashville. (Check them out on Dana Cooper's "You Will Be All Right" on Listen page #6.)

Rod Picott ain't getting nothin but bigger and better, and he's hella good already. Highly recommended.  • FG

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