East Nashville’s Free Spirit Spins Stories with Songs
The weekend might have started early for the folks who attended a Music Box Supper Club concert Thursday night, but for Todd Snider it’s always five o’clock somewhere. Snider played to a capacity crowd for the first of a rare two night stand at the beautiful venue located where the Cuyahoga River empties into Lake Erie.
The clean shaven Snider walked barefoot onto the stage with just a guitar and harmonica opening with “If Tomorrow Never Comes”. The legendary East Nashville songwriter performed an assortment of songs from his over twenty years of recording career while sharing opinions over the course of the evening. After acknowledging the warm reception, Snider played “Better Than Ever Blues, Part 2”, “Too Soon to Tell”, and then crowd favorites “Just Like Old Times” and a medley of “Happy New Year”/ “Beer Run”. As the ring leader of the side project band Hard Working Americans, Snider offered up “Roman Candles” from the new LP Rest In Chaos followed by “Carla”, a signature story telling rap “Ballad of The Kingsmen”, “Ballad of The Devil’s Backbone Tavern”, “Doublewide Blues”, and another audience favorite “Conservative Christian”. At this point of the evening, a few of the faithful shouted out some requests and when one embarrassed soul mentioned “Doublewide”, Snider just went with it and played a little reprise. From there, Snider went with “Statistician’s Blues”, his signature song about a friend in East Nashville called “Play A Train Song”, then another requested number “Long Year”.
At this point, Snider had the crowd right where he wanted them. He told a story about leaving Oregon to California and finally landing in Texas. Hearing a Jerry Jeff Walker record changed his life and career path where the difference between a freeloader and a free spirit was just a couple of chords. A few encounters with Jerry Jeff and the legendary tackle box fostered a friendship leading to an evening in Santa Fe. One of those “had to be there” moments Snider says was the highlight of his life, he then paid homage to his hero with a rendition of “Mr. Bojangles”. After a standing ovation and briefly leaving the stage, Snider returns with an encore of “Good Fortune” and a cover of “Louie Louie”.
Opening the show was Rorey Carroll, another East Nashville artist who is signed on for a lengthy tour with Snider and the HWA’s. With a new album coming out in September called “Love Is An Outlaw” on Lo Hi Records, this Americana folk song writer will be someone to keep on your radar. Highlights of her set included “Black Dog”, a song written on Chicago’s Blue Line titled “142 Night Train”, “Emily”, “Our Kinda Street”, “Summer In The Town” and the title track.