Exclusive Preview: SongWriter Season 3 Continues with Rod Picott and Nicholson Baker

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Exclusive Preview: <i>SongWriter</i> Season 3 Continues with Rod Picott and Nicholson Baker

SongWriter is a podcast of stories and “answer songs,” featuring performances by Roxane Gay, David Gilmour, Susan Orlean, Joyce Carol Oates and Michael Ian Black. You can hear an exclusive preview of next week’s episode featuring Nicholson Baker and Rod Picott only at Paste.

Rod Picott and Nicholson Baker are drawn together by geography, Slaid Cleaves and a shared appreciation of a good sandwich. The songwriter and author have known each other, and been fans of each others’ work, for years. Rod was introduced to Nicholson’s work by his friend and musical collaborator Slaid Cleaves. And in a different way, Slaid also introduced Nicholson to Rod: It was while searching for artists that sounded like Slaid Cleaves that Nicholson found Rod’s song, “The Last Goodbye.”

“I loved the sound of his voice,” Nicholson says, “I made this playlist for my family as we were driving my daughter to college, so this song became a goodbye to my daughter.”

Rod and Nicholson are both from the same area of Maine, and on the new episode of SongWriter they talk about their many common interests, including the importance of a good sandwich.

“In one of his emails he said, ‘When you come up to Maine, let’s have a sandwich,’” Rod recalls, laughing appreciatively. “That was so charming! Not ‘let’s go out to eat,’ but let’s specifically have a sandwich.”

Rod wrote a song called “Losing Faith,” about the dissolution of a love affair portrayed in Nicholson’s novel, The Anthologist.

Nicholson says that hearing the song was an emotional experience for him. “I listened to it and I just thought, ‘Wow, that’s true.’ He’s caught the truth of a feeling I have felt, yet he has made it his own.”


Ben Arthur is the creator and host of SongWriter. You can follow him @MyHeart and hear his newest song, “Noughts and Vaccines.”

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