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Album review: Rod Picott, ‘Fortune’

Rod Picott calls what he does “the circus of heartbreak and misery.” His latest release, “Fortune,” weds his marvelous lyrical economy to music that ranges from spare acoustic guitar to a clanging junkyard sound, and proves once again that he’s a ringmaster at turning misery into art. The fortune here is mostly rough. Love is hard: “You kept track of all my failures and counted them one by one,” begins the bitter recrimination “I Was Not Worth Your Love,” while “Jeremiah” sketches the void left by a soldier’s death in the desert — strikingly, written and sung in his widow’s voice. Life, too, is hard: “This world is a dangerous place,” asserts the song of the same name, proceeding to a series of terse, elliptical illustrations of the point. Still, “Spare Change” seems to end things on a note of shimmering potential, with a chance encounter and Picott singing “God’s gifts, they come down small/ Babies and diamonds and spare change.” (Out Friday)

STUART MUNRO

ESSENTIAL “Jeremiah“

Rod Picott performs at Club Passim on Aug. 24.

Stuart Munro can be reached at sj.munro@verizon.net.