Latest Todd Snider Articles
Celebrate JamBase’s 20th anniversary with a look back at 20 standout albums from jam acts from each of the past 20 years.
Watch John Prine perform his “Illegal Smile” with Todd Snider at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium.
Release Day Picks this week highlights new albums by Stephen Malkmus, Todd Snider, Karen O & Danger Mouse, Snarky Puppy, T Sisters and Jerry Garcia Band.
Watch the animated official video for “Talking Reality Television Blues,” the latest single off Todd Snider’s upcoming new album ‘Cash Cabin Sessions, Vol. 3.’
Listen to “The Ghost Of Johnny Cash,” the latest single off singer-songwriter Todd Snider’s upcoming new album ‘Cash Cabin Sessions, Vol. 3.’
Listen to “Like A Force Of Nature,” the new Todd Snider single featuring Jason Isbell.
More Todd Snider Articles
Latest Todd Snider Setlist
Todd Snider at Bijou Theatre
- D.B. Cooper
- Play a Train Song
- Talking Reality Television Blues
- The Banana Story
- The Blues on Banjo
- Beer Run
- Conservative Christian, Right Wing, Republican, Straight, White, American Males
- Easy Money
- Like a Force of Nature
- Roman Candles
- Alright Guy
- The Blues on Banjo
- The Ghost Of Johnny Cash
- Don't It Make You Wanna Dance
- The Ballad of the Kingsmen
- Mr. Bojangles (Encore)
About Todd Snider
Todd Snider is on the happy back end of happy hour at a favorite East Nashville bar, talking about his new album Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables. “This record doesn’t come from good times,” Snider says. “I wanted to sound the way I feel, which sometimes means sounding like a broken soul.”
On the 10 new songs, Snider doesn’t talk around the vulnerable part, or the angry part, or the part about how everything we’re taught about goodness and righteousness and capitalism, about God and family values winds up exploding into violence and chaos, wonder and longing. He might carry the mantle of “storyteller” – it’s what he titled his live record, after all – but Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables is anything but a nice, folk/Americana troubadour album.
It’s not a nice anything.
It is jagged, leering, lurching and howling, and filled with unhappy endings both experienced and intimated: “It ain’t the despair that gets you, it’s the hope,” he sings in the album-closer, “Big Finish.” That Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables is also roaringly funny is tribute to Snider’s unique sensibilities, and to his standing as what Rolling Stone magazine calls “America’s sharpest musical storyteller.” Anguish without laughter is boring, like intensive care without morphine, and Snider has never been within 100 miles of boring. Also, he didn’t earn the attention, friendship and fandom of American musical giants like Kris Kristofferson and John Prine by writing mopey protest songs.
Anyway, these aren’t protest songs and they’re not meant to incite class warfare (though he knows they might anyway). They’re populated mostly by losers in the midst of losing, with a couple of spotlight appearances from the humbly anointed 1 percent. At album’s outset (“In The Beginning”), Snider credits the church with sustaining peace by noting that “We still need religion to keep the poor from killing the rich.” From there, it’s on to the certainty of warped karma (“Good things happen to bad people,” he sings in “New York Banker.”), to a remarkable reworking of “West Nashville Grand Ballroom Gown” (possibly the album’s most acerbic song, and from the pen of Jimmy Buffett… no, really), and a slew of stories inspired by the world at large, writ small and barbed, in a manner both penetrating and empathetic. There’s one happy love song, called “Brenda,” about Snider’s favorite couple, Keith Richards and Mick Jagger.
“I admire that relationship a lot,” Snider says. “What Mick and Keith have is real, and it can’t be touched and it can’t be beat. I’ve never met them, but I believe in the Rolling Stones. That’s who I think about at Christmas, anymore. They opened their hearts and gave us so much. And they tried to be true to each other.”
Musically, Snider and co-producer Eric McConnell sought a sound that mirrored the times and that didn’t replicate anything they’d done together on critically acclaimed works East Nashville Skyline, The Devil You Know or Peace Queer. With McConnell on bass and Snider playing guitar and harmonica, they gathered a core band of percussionist Paul Griffith, violinist/vocalist (and gifted songwriter) Amanda Shires, and keyboard player Chad Staehly, along with guest guitarist Jason Isbell and harmony vocalist Mick Utley, and offered up a sonic mission.
“I told them I wanted to make a mess,” Snider says. “That was the goal.” And so a handful of accomplished musicians set about making a mess. And did so. Shires’ violin is the call-and-response heroine to Snider’s lyrics, filling the role Scarlett Rivera filled for Bob Dylan on Desire. Only messier. Meanwhile, Griffith makes like some off-kilter offspring of Keith Moon and Zigaboo Modeliste while Snider’s guitar plays lead switchblade.
The result is something disconcerting, cracked and wholly original. It’s something that stands apart from the music of Snider’s heroes, and from Snider’s own, much-celebrated past. Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables is Snider’s 12th album (14th, if we count a “best of” set and a collection of B-sides and demos), and it uses its predecessors not as a compass but as a trampoline. Snider found different song forms, different inspirations (from Alaska ne’er do well Digger Dave to Chicago Mayor, former White House Chief of Staff and friend….. no, really….. Rahm Emanuel) and different means of expression. He paints a world where begging turns to mugging, where investment turns to ruin, where babies grow into felons, where honesty is blunt trauma: “Wish I could show you how you hurt me in a way that wouldn’t hurt you, too,” he sings. And there’s no way.
Stream audio, read a recap and check out the setlists from Phish’s Camp Oswego festival, which came to a close on this date in 1999.
John Popper with Twidde and Cory Wong with Pigeons Playing Ping Pong are among the collaborative sets that have been added to the 2019 LOCKN’ lineup.
Greensky Bluegrass recruited members of the Jon Stickley Trio for “Casual Wednesday” shenanigans at The NorVa in Norfolk.
Phish unveiled pro-shot video of the 38-minute “Ruby Waves” from Sunday night at Alpine Valley in East Troy, Wisconsin.
Nationals Park will host a Grateful Dead Night in August when the Washington Nationals take on the Cincinnati Reds.