Rod Picott and Anne McCue at Rehmsworld at The Balcony, Loomis, Nebraska
“Confucius say: before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.” With that opening statement Anne McCue launched into her first song of the evening, “Dig Two Graves” from her newest album Blue Sky Thinkin’. Anne, who hails from Australia and currently resides in East Nashville, revealed herself throughout the set to be both a great songwriter and a consummate musician, playing acoustic guitar, lap steel, and electric guitar.
Anne is also a very witty woman. “I wrote this song in 1936 with David Olney, who I’ve known for a 100 years. I made my first recording on a cylinder,” she said, introducing her next song “Things You Left Out In The Rain.” Anne then moved into “Spring Cleaning In The Wintertime” which she says she started writing in the spring and finished in the fall.
Switching to lap steel, Anne apologized for spoiling the frivolity and said the next song would be in the key of KKK. That song was, “Hey, Mr. Hangman” which talks about a woman seeing her lover being lynched. Then, picking up the pace and getting back to a more cheerful topic, she switched again to electric guitar and performed a stellar version of Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child” before wrapping up the set with “Devil In The Middle” and “Little White Cat.”
Next up was Rod Picott, ex-sheetrock hanger and son of a welder turned singer-songwriter. He started out the set on harmonica and guitar singing “Atlantic”. Upon finishing the song he intoned, “Welcome to Rod Picott’s circus of misery and heartbreak. If you woke up this morning and said, ‘Damn, I wish there were more songs about welding and unemployment’ this show is for you.”
Never before has misery and heartache been made so funny and entertaining. I wish I could share all of the stories Rod told throughout the evening but there’s only so much space for a review. Suffice it to say that many of us can probably relate to most of it from his tough relatives – “Yes, I take after my mom’s side. Dad was a welder and a marine. When I told him at 15 I wanted to be a singer-songwriter he looked at me like someone had handed him a pink hammer. You know, I guess I’ll take it but I’d rather have something else.” – to his experiences living in a trailer park and becoming a sheetrock hanger.
Speaking of tough relatives I think the two favorite songs of the evening were “Uncle John” about that embarrassing cranky uncle we all have and “Tiger Tom Dixon’s Blues” about his great uncle, a boxer during the great depression.
Other songs that evening were “Elbow Grease”, “Spare Change”, “Getting’ To Me”, “65 Falcon”, “Welding Burns”, “Mobile Home”, “Where No One Knows My Name”, “Sheetrock Hanger”, and “Until I’m Satisfied”.
At one point in the show he said he had one happy song that he would sing for us. “Folk music is meant to be endured not to be enjoyed,” he said. However, he had one song that people would ask him to play at weddings. He thought about writing another happy song but that would double the amount of songs he would have to sing at weddings and he was happy to sing one, have some cake, cash his check and go home. That song “Angels And Acrobats” was worth it for the show. I wish he would write more happy ones like this.
At any rate, we all left very happy and satisfied on this fine October night. Two singers and another great show at Rehmsworld on the Nebraska Folk Route.