Album Review | Rod Picott's Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil

Rod Picott found himself free-soloing up a sheer face. The soles of his shoes slipping 2,000 feet above an abyss, imminent peril the likely result. While confronting impossible odds, Picott kept creating. And, after some semblance of normalcy was restored, he created some more. The result is a stunning work of art called Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil.

Picott has long been one of the great songwriters of his generation. His bonafides are well established, but this record cements him as something different. It is the best of an impressive catalog and there are a few clear reasons for that.

Born on either end of a major health scare, Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil is as raw as a fresh breakup wound, a reflection on the origin story of a man’s life as he stares down death and loneliness and wonders where to go from here. The record is not overly romantic. In fact, in parts it thumbs its nose at the notion of romanticizing life’s brutal bits.

The mood is one of sitting on a precipice looking down between dangling feet, taking in the struggle of of the climb. Celebrating progress while recognizing the mistakes that were and those that could have let to the catastrophic destruction of everything that matters.

The gift of this record is that it is a window into the thoughts and emotions of a great writer. Picott opens the cellar door on his fears, crutches, and desires. He leads us down the rickety steps of his psyche by shining a lantern on each rung. At the end of the journey we reach a room filled with hope. Not a dank, closed basement, but a space walled with doors and mirrors, reflections of ourselves leading to the possibility of self-discovery and improvement.

Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil demands heavy lifting from both artist and consumer. The work is rewarding. Rod Picott’s new record Tell the Truth and Shame the Devil comes out on July 19. Stay tuned to for a conversation with the man himself starting July 5th. It’ll pair well with your Fourth of July hangover.