With the release of his latest album ” The Devil You Know”, in August 2006, Todd snider’s humorous, yet slightly cynical brand of alternative country / rock music is attracting attention everywhere. Since the mid- 1990’s, Todd Snider has been recording some of the most original and heartfelt music in America. In fact, the music recorded by Todd Snider falls into a somewhat new genre of music known as ‘ Americana’.
On The Devil You Know, which is Todd Snider’s eighth album, the tradition of ‘Outlaw- Country’ music, popularized by icons such as Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, Willie Nelson and David Allan Coe is kept alive and showing signs of growth and relevance.
At his 2006 induction into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, Kris Kristofferson requested that Todd Snider perform on stage. Also in 2006, Todd Snider is a featured performer on three separate tribute albums. One is a tribute to Kinky Friedman, another is a tribute to Peter Case and the third is a top- shelf album celebrating the music of Kris Kristofferson titled ” The Pilgrim: A Celebration of Kris Kristofferson”.
After plugging away for years in semi- obscurity, Todd Snider was ‘discovered’ by a member of Jimmy Buffett’s Coral Reefer Band and was signed to Buffett’s Margaritaville Records label, which released his debut album ” Songs For the Daily Planet” in 1994. Between 1994 and 1998, Todd snider recorded and released a substantial body of work, displaying a unique hybrid of folk, rock and country music. Much of that music can be found on a retrospective album titled ” That Was Me: The Best of Todd Snider 1994- 1998″. Included on this album is a grunge- like version of Buffett’s ” Margaritaville”.
Originally from Portland, Oregon, Snider, 39, counts Bob Dylan, John Prine, Randy Newman and Jerry Jeff Walker as influences on his own distinctive sound. Now a resident of Nashville, Tenn, Todd Snider has attracted legions of fans since releasing his famous/ infamous ” Talking Seattle Grunge Rock Blues” in 1994, a humorous observation of the whole grunge/ alternative music scene. With the release of his ” East Nashville Skyline” album in 2004, snider has established himself as one of America’s most pre-eminent alternative- country artists.
Amazingly, the music of Todd Snider cuts across a wide range of demographics. With his long blondish- hair, reminiscent of Tom Petty, and his post- hippie sensibilities, Snider appeals equally to an aging baby boomer audience, as well as to a new generation of dis- satisfied young people. With a style of guitar playing that evokes thoughts of Chuck Berry, Elvin Bishop, Canned Heat and Waylon Jennings simutaneously, and a pleasant yet world- weary voice that grows on the listener, Todd Snider is a force to be reckoned with and a musical name to remember.
As Americana music has become increasingly popular in the US, so too, has Mr. Snider. With many Americana music fans leaning to the right politically and philosophically, it is quite refreshing and perplexing to witness the popularity of the unabashedly liberal, hard- partying Todd Snider among that group. Just to peruse the titles of some of Mr. Snider’s songs is a pleasure unto itself. The following are just a few titles to some of the excellent music recorded by Todd Snider.
“Alcohol and Pills”..”Incarcerated”..”Better than ever blues, part 2″..”D.B. Cooper”..”Betty was black(Willie was white”.”.Waco Moon”..”Beer Run”..and ” Iron Mike’s Main Man’s Last Request”.
The 2004 breakthrough album ” East Nashville Skyline” is an unequivocal masterpiece. Musically and lyrically this album displays a matured, yet still rebellious Todd snider at his best. Every song on the album is exceptionally well- crafted and listener- friendly. By far, two of the standout cuts would have to be ” Conservative Christian Right- Wing Republican Straight White american Males” and “Enjoy Yourself”, with its chorus of ” Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think”.
An undeniable fact about many of Todd Snider’s songs is that they are immensely hummable. His songs have a tendency to ‘stick with’ a person, even after only one listening. In an age of re- hashed and recycled music and banal television talent shows that produce more boring clones, Todd Snider is a truly refreshing and exciting performer. With the release of “The Devil You Know”, in August of 2006, Todd Snider is likely to attract even more attention. Todd Snider is a musical name to remember.