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Todd Snider - East Nashville Skyline

  by Geraint Jones

published: 18 / 4 / 2005

Todd Snider - East Nashville Skyline
Label: Oh Boy
Format: CD


Autobiographical, humorous country/folk rock from the lucky-to-be-alive Nashvillian singer-songwriter, Todd Snider

It’s safe to say that Todd Snider has lived a bit; that he’s yet to turn 40 though will probably come as quite a surprise and that he’s still even here at all will likely surprise as many, not least I suspect Snider himself. Following a couple of close calls with the tall hooded guy with the big scythe during his wilder and not all that distant years and more recently, the untimely death of his close friend Skip Litz in 2003, a man who once said, "Dying is the best part of Living, that's why I saved it for last", on ‘East Nashville Skyline’ the newly cleaned up and freshly inspired Todd Snider has come up with a cracking set. Comprising of nine originals and three covers and delivered in his ever so slightly gravelly, almost weather-beaten voice, his material is deeply ingrained with a dark sense of humour. Despite his intentions to come up with an album title as memorable as Bob Dylan’s similarly titled offering, the obviousness of it eluded East Nashvillian Snider until his producer and sideman Will Kimbrough suggested it. Providing a wry social commentary on contemporary American values, both from his own and a wider perspective, the die is cast from opener ‘Age Like Wine’, which finishes appropriately abruptly in less than two minutes. ‘Alcohol And Pills’, though a Fred Eaglesmith song, is conversely about as autobiographical as it could get. Elsewhere, another cover, Billy Joe Shaver’s ‘Good News Blues’ is Snider’s own way of repaying a debt for Shaver’s timely intervention in a bar dispute which almost resulted in Snider being shot – it doesn’t get much rawer and real than that! In spite of the often dark subject matter the humour is never too far away throughout, most apparent on ‘Conservative, Christian, Right-Wing Republican, Straight, White, American Males’, Snider’s self-confessed (“I’m so liberal I have love for Conservatives”), razor-sharp indictment of the current state of American politics. As happy rocking out as he is on more reflective country or folk-tinged singer-songwriter fare, almost managing to meld all three on the Hamell On Trial-like power folk meets Jerry Lee Lewis rock ‘n’ roll thrash of ‘Incarcerated’, with ‘East Nashville Skyline’, Todd Snider has placed himself assuredly back on the map.

Track Listing:-
1 Age Like Wine
2 Tillamook County Jail
3 Play a Train Song
4 Alcohol and Pills
5 Good News Blues
6 The Ballad of the Kingsmen
7 Iron Mike's Main Man's Last Request
8 Conservative, Christian, Right Wing Republican, Straight, White, American Males
9 Incarcerated
10 Nashville
11 Sunshine
12 Enjoy Yourself

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