On veteran folk/Americana road dog Rod Picott's upcoming seventh album, Fortune, the observant singer-songwriter is turning his normally outward-focused gaze around to point back at himself. And much of what he finds comes down to fate.
"A lot of these songs explore a sense of chance, of what might happen with your life," says the former sheet rock hanger. "There's a sense of luck, and how things might unfold for someone. I thought that calling it Fortune might put a positive spin on that idea of chance and circumstance. It helps wrap up the feeling that runs through the record."
Over 12 tracks, Fortune takes a look at the effects of chance and circumstance on a soldier ("Jeremiah"), a family ("Uncle John") and love ("Alicia"). One of the album's standouts is "Spare Change," a sparse, reflective meditation that explores how life is made up of tiny puzzle pieces. They're insignificant on their own, but when put together, something huge and beautiful comes into view.
"This is a theme I've come at from different angles in other songs." Says Picott. "The idea that the small things in our lives can add up to something bigger. The idea that if you find someone to walk through this world with, you can make something better and make a life that's bigger than you could alone is powerful to me. There's an element of the mystical running through this song. No matter the enormity of the Golden Gate Bridge or of heaven itself, everything we can ponder is still made up of smaller things. Even life itself is lived one moment at a time, one small chance after another."
Written with fellow Americana artist Ryan Culwell, the song features a bare-bones backing band and a careful sound that puts Picott's truth-seeking vocals out front. Like the rest of Fortune, the emphasis is placed on reality, be it good or bad.
"I wanted to make a record where we captured performances, as opposed to imitating performances," he says. "Technology makes it so easy to do an imitation of what your best performance would sound like, but that's not a real performance. That's just what you would want yourself to sound like. I didn't want to do that. For better or worse, Fortune is what I actually sound like."
With his new album set for release August 14th, Picott has tour dates scheduled across the U.S. through the end of the year before heading off on a European trek in early 2016.