My run in with Todd Snider probably happened around the mid-nineties when his comedy tune “Talking Seattle Grunge Rock Blues” lit up radio stations throughout the country. It was a funny song for the times and I just assumed Todd was some kind of Weird Al parody guy that had scored a cute little radio hit.
Fast forward about 5 years later, say around 2000, and I was listening to Uncle Gram one Saturday morning and I heard this killer song called “Long Year.” (Uncle Gram does a great Americana show on the college radio station here in Columbia, South Carolina. His show on Saturday mornings from 10-12 features a lot of the artists we write about here on Twangville. Stream it here.) Turns out it was the same guy but a way different subject matter. I went and bought the album, Happy To Be Here, enjoyed it, but kind of forgot about Todd.
Let’s fast forward again to around 2006. I’m hanging out with my friend Tim in Nashville and he’s like, “You’ve got to hear this record.” It was Todd Snider’s The Devil You Know. After listening to this record over and over and over I was hooked. I went back and bought all of his stuff from this decade and finally caught a live show last year at the Isle of Palms. It was just Todd and his guitar and it was fantastic. (Can you tell I’m a fan yet?)
Well, as you know its 2009, and Yep Roc is about to release The Excitement Plan. And yes, I was excited to get a copy for review. Its vintage Snider filled with wit and cynicism and will probably be popping up on my I-Pod a good bit in the next few months. There’s not really a bad song on the album (although I wasn’t crazy about “Dollface”) but some of my favorites so far include the gospel-tinged “Money, Compliments and Publicity”, (yes, Todd wants it all) the story-song-Steve Earle-sounding “Corpus Christi Bay”, the maybe autobiographical “Greencastle Blues” (although I honestly don’t know) and the awesome baseball anthem “America’s Favorite Pastime” which Snider released as a video last year. There’s also a duet with country sensation Loretta L. (I’ll preserve her anonymity) that you can tell was fun to record.
If you like your politics and depression served up with a smirk and a smile then The Excitement Plan is for you. You can preorder at yeproc.com and I’m guessing it will also be available on I-Tunes and the like in a couple of weeks. Support Todd! We need more singer/songwriters like him out there on the road.
RIYL: Cory Branan, Loudon Wainwright III, rusty toothpicks
Visit Todd on MySpace here.
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