Friday, 16 August 2019

ALBUM REVIEW: Rod Picott - Tell The Truth & Shame The Devil : Welding Rod Records

From a partially hidden gaze on the front cover, Rod Picott is in a mean mood as he slips out yet another album of self-reflective industrial grit. Even by his own substantive standards, this latest record sinks into the depths of a mind — troubled, pensive and ultimately grasping at faint shafts of light. To get TELL THE TRUTH & SHAME THE DEVIL out from the inner vaults to the ears of a somewhat tuned-in listener, Picott engaged no more than his guitar, harmonica, gruff vocals, fertile mind and a living room-style setting appropriate to disseminate such candid thoughts. There was an extra helping hand from Neilson Hubbard to mould the recordings into a more palatable state, but this takes the term ‘stripped back’ into new territories and it wouldn’t be amiss to stamp some sort of ‘content warning’ on the cover.

This album challenges the notion of a third way when engaging with a record. If you get to the end of the forty-seven minute playing time, you are likely to be a fully paid up member of the Rod Picott Appreciation Society. All other entrants will likely fall at the first hurdle, with newbies probably requiring a dose of Picott’s greater produced back catalogue to ease themselves into the work of one of the most intense songwriters you are likely to encounter on the contemporary Americana scene. 

On a record where a personal health scare supplied the canvas to see these songs flow, mortality features prominently whether reflecting on the suicidal demise of one real life character in ‘Mark’ or the deeply personal outpouring in ‘A 38 Special & a Hermes Purse’. The latter sinks to its knees with the line ‘I’m a train wreck turning Beaujolais to piss’, but the good news is the parting track, ‘Folds of Your Dress’, shares a touch of hope and Rod Picott is still alive and kicking to tour the album in the UK in the autumn. 

Alongside mortality, nostalgia plays a strong part, although you could say the two concepts go hand in hand. When staring back at past events, ‘Mama’s Boy' considers masculinity, ‘Spartan Hotel’ recalls live music in its most basic form and ‘Sunday Best’ takes a twisted look at the mundane. To get the best out of the twelve songs, reading the liner notes is an essential companion. Context is key to how these songs played out and the subsequent importance of the vehicle adopted to share with a fanbase, one likely to be hardened to the stern stuff. 

Rawness and complexity melt into the listening experience of TELL THE TRUTH & SHAME THE DEVIL. Although a fan of Rod Picott’s music for over a decade, this was still a tough album to grasp, suggesting a contradiction to the earlier point that a third way doesn’t exist ie you’re either in or out. The jury is still out as to whether this record in its primal format reaches out past a core, but it is probably the most important album of Rod Picott’s career and may clear the way for a prosperous future where recognition of his stellar song writing skills sail above any facet of self doubt. You cannot deny this guy makes interesting albums and surfacing on the other side is an invigorating experience. 

TELL THE TRUTH & SHAME THE DEVIL is out in the US and available for listening on overseas platforms. It is scheduled for a formal UK release on September 6th and sure to be available at most Rod Picott gigs subject to the inevitable sold out sign.

Monday, 12 August 2019

FESTIVAL PREVIEW: Over The Hill - Witney, Oxfordshire Monday 26th August 2019

Is there room for another festival in an apparent crowded field? Definitely when it's a quality roots event within 80 miles of the West Midlands conurbation on a quiet Bank Holiday Monday. So let's embrace the birth of Over The Hill and wish it a prosperous existence. Plenty of top acts lined up for this inaugural staging including a somewhat rare appearance these days from Danny and the Champions of the World (for the right reasons though and we know they ain't going far away). For further details, check out the official press release below and look out for future coverage from the day's activities down Cogges Farm.

The beautiful Oxfordshire countryside is destined to become immersed in the world of Americana this Summer at the first-ever Over the Hill Festival. Proudly presented by Glovebox Live, Over the Hill takes place on Bank Holiday Monday 26th August at the picturesque Cogges Manor Farm.
With plenty of opportunities to delve into the Americana experience with authentic American food and bars, Over the Hill will also feature intimate performances from some of the finest live Americana and roots acts in the UK today, on two stages housed in beautiful tithe barns.
Local, award-winning brewer Wychwood Brewery will be providing the thirst-quenching beverages notably the refreshing American ale Shipyard IPA and To The Moon will be running a Gin & Prosecco Bar. In addition, Over the Hill will feature authentic American food from vendors such as The Burn Out BBQ and Fat Lil’s providing a selection of Mexican and vegetarian cuisine.  You’ll also have the chance to discover the whole of the Cogges Museum site : the 17th century Manor House and it’s “Downton” links, the orchard and courtyard.
  • Venue is access friendly.
  • A limited number of 12 and under tickets are online priced £5 + booking fee.
  • PLEASE NOTE that both Stages are STANDING only – no seating inside the Barns.
  • The Courtyard will have some seating and you are welcome to bring your own camping chairs.
  • You can find details about the venue, and travel options here
  • There is plenty of FREE parking.
  • No dogs on site apart from Guide Dogs which must be on a lead at all times.
  • The site is totally NON SMOKING but you can vape.
  • PLEASE NOTE your own food and drink are not permitted on the festival site.
  • If you are looking to stay over we can recommend The Premier Inn and Oxford Witney Hotel both of which are walkable to the venue.
  • Enquiries and box office 0845 2574938
26th, August 2019
 doors @ 12noon
On the Door Price: £30
Advance Ticket Price: £30
Book Tickets: Click here