By Bill Clifford
The songwriter friendly, John Prine-owned Oh Boy Records has scoured the vaults for an interesting set of obscurities by Nashville-based troubadour Todd Snider. Peace, Love and Anarchy is subtitled Rarities, B-Sides and Demos Vol. 1, leading one to assume there's more where this came from. In the case of a songwriter as prolific as Snider that may certainly be the case.
Not surprisingly, most of the tracks here are culled from the sessions that produced his heavily lauded 2006 disc, East Nashville Skyline. However, it's clear why most of these cuts never made to albums before this. On "Nashville" you hear Snider laughing as he dedicates the song to executive producer Al Bunetta. This version is just Snider and an acoustic guitar and a late night warble in his voice. The first four cuts follow a similiar path including the rollicking "Barbie Doll."
Then comes "Old Friend," recorded with Peter Holsapple and Jack Ingram. It's a shame a recording this fun has taken this long to see the light of day. Holsapple's harmonica and steel guitar add weight to this ditty that makes you wish you were right there on the back porch with them singing along. Same goes for "Stoney," another of Snider's story tales of colorful ne'er do well characters he's met on his travels. Carried along by elegant acoustic strumming, the characters in Snider's songs make you wish you were right there walking along the road with them.
Another gem is "East Nashville Skyline," which includes weepy pedal steel from Lloyd Green. Despite being a one-take home studio recording with no overdubs, the fine mix of steel guitar, acoustic strum, and harmonica is easy to lean into, transporting you to a star filled sky on a warm spring night where red wine is going around and everybody singing along.
This CD is not likely to win Snider a new legion of listeners but for fans who've been on the ride since Snider declared himself an "Alright Guy" in 1994 it's a must-have collection.
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