:: Todd Snider :: Boulder Theater :: February 13 ::
By Lisa Oshlo
Armed only with a weathered acoustic guitar, small snare, tambourine and his rough-hewn voice, Todd Snider is turning heads across the country with his irreverent brand of folk-country-rock. A singer/songwriter in the tradition of John Prine and Arlo Guthrie, Snider also evokes the spirit of Outlaw country made famous by Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson, and Willie Nelson. The Marquee caught up with him recently at his East Nashville home, where he spoke about those early musical influences.
“Those were just my heroes when I was young,” said Snider. “I wanted to copy them, and it wasn’t until I got older that I realized I wanted to be more like myself. I’d like to think I added a unique part to the niche I tried to jump into. Either way,” he chuckled, “I just like playing.”
Combining a wicked sense of humor with a modern-day pathos, Snider pulls the audience into his songs. Usually barefoot, he approaches his music with a raw honesty rarely seen in today’s country music landscape. In an industry that favors slick country superstars, Snider flies under the radar and goes a long way toward keeping it real.
It’s a very real talent that has kept Snider going for so long. He started writing songs around 1986 but it wasn’t until the early ’90s that he was discovered by a member of Jimmy Buffett’s Coral Reefer Band and signed to Buffett’s Margaritaville Records. His first album, 1994’s Songs For the Daily Planet, was met with significant acclaim and he has followed it up with an equally impressive body of work. Since the beginning, Snider has consistently produced quality material, and at an impressive pace. His sophomore album, Step Right Up, was released in 1996, followed by Viva Satellite in 1998, Happy To Be Here in 2000, New Connection in 2002, Near Truths and Hotel Rooms (Live) in 2003, East Nashville Skyline in 2004, That Was Me: The Best of Todd Snider in 2005, The Devil You Know in 2006, and Peace, Love, and Anarchy in 2007. The Devil You Know was critically appreciated, showing up on many year-end album lists. The album took the #33 spot on Rolling Stone’s annual 50 Best Albums for that year, and Snider was inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame.
Snider’s work has a broad-spectrum appeal, as older fans of Neil Young and Bob Dylan appreciate his style and candor, while younger generations relate to his disdain for the current state of affairs.
“Mostly, I just think I’m trying to open my heart and say what’s in there, and some days that’s ‘I love my wife’ and some days it’s about the system,” he said. “I just try to think of it in terms of sharing my opinion and not that I am educating anybody or trying to change their minds. It’s just an honest representation of where my brain’s at. I don’t get to share my opinion because people think I’m smart, I get to share it with them because it rhymes and I know three chords.”
Spending most of his time on the road with his wife and his dogs, Snider is used to winning audiences over one at a time.
“It’s a cool way to make a living if you can get in the rhythm of it,” he said.
:: Todd Snider ::
:: Boulder Theater :: February 13 ::
Recommended if you like:
• John Prine
• Arlo Guthrie
• Jerry Jeff Walker