Despite giving up his job as a construction worker in Nashville 17 years ago, Rod Picott's primary concerns still revolve around the lives of working people.
Now 53 years old and nine albums into his music career, Picott is in no danger of suffering from a writer's block. The twenty-two songs on this ambitious double album were whittled down from seventy-eight. Not only this, but a collection of 12 short stories with the same title accompanies its release.
"It's all about the take home pay" he sings on one of four songs co-written with long-time friend Slaid Cleaves but Picott knows full well that fulfillment doesn't just depend on the size of the salary check.
On another song he observes "You can take a measure of what a man treasures when he's On The Way Down". The precariousness of employment mirrors the transience of hopes and dreams. It's all about counting your blessings and finding Diamonds In The Dirt.
Life may be no bed of roses but his story songs celebrate men and women with a drive and determination to continue Holding On and keep a Fire Aside burning fiercely even when the odds seem heavily stacked against them. The strength of the material lies in the singer's strong sense of empathy and his refusal to stoop to cheap sentiment.
Trusted producer Neilson Hubbard keeps things tight and simple with no frills arrangements assisted by an experienced recording band which includes of Will Kimbrough and Kris Donegan on electric guitars and Evan Hutchings on drums.
This fine record has a range of hard driving rockers and tender ballads which are of a consistently high standard with no obvious fillers.
Rod Picott's website