Back To His Roots | Rocky Votolato

He sings, “It’s as pretty as it is cruel,” in “She Was Only in It for the Rain” from his recently released Barsuk debut, Makers—and if that ain’t a mantra for his oeuvre, he doesn’t have one.

 

 

He’s lost most of his accent since moving tofrom the Texas horse farm he grew up on the Pacific Northwest in 1991, but Rocky Votolato has hold of those sundown hours and dusty days, with their inherited tension and melancholy, that need a bigger screen and bigger sky to get their full effect. There’s a big air of gentle outlaw in him, the poet with the six-shooter. He writes these soft and honest tales that could have been written as valentines by Buffalo Bill Cody, James Taylor, John Wayne, or a combination of all three.

He sings, “It’s as pretty as it is cruel,” in “She Was Only in It for the Rain” from his recently released Barsuk debut, Makers—and if that ain’t a mantra for his oeuvre, he doesn’t have one.

“My friend wrote that song. It’s the only one on the record that I didn’t write myself. He’s a rough-ass drunk dude and he goes by the name Piss Pisstofferson. He’s one of those people that I’ve known forever,” Votolato said. “I most definitely think that line’s true of a lot of things. You can find beauty in things that are kind of painful.

“I listened to all that stuff [Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard] growing up. My parents listened to that stuff a lot. I feel like I’ve gone back. All those writers were full of those songs. I didn’t really appreciate those songs when I was younger, and I think about that with my kids. My daughter hears David Allen Coe and she says, ‘That’s just terrible.’ But someday she’ll be telling people, ‘I was listening to George Jones when I was 12.’”

Just like her old man.

 

 

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