You’ll be able to read this on another website soon, but who cares about them? SWR is always first!
Todd Snider – Live: The Storyteller – INS90728
A live document of Todd Snider is a welcome addition to any collection. While his studio albums range from “pretty good” to “masterpiece” (East Nashville Skyline and The Devil You Know being this writer’s favorites) the live experience that Mr. Snider delivers is something unique, inviting, candid, funny, and truly spectacular. Live: The Storyteller contains tracks from his most recent and best albums (each of them worth owning), the ones since he started working with mentor, ex-label owner, and folk legend John Prine, with a few old fan favorites in there for good measure. You won’t find a version of his biggest hit “Beer Run,” for that you’ll have to grab the equally impressive live one-time-best-of Near Truths and Hotel Rooms. What you will find is a very open and genuine live album, it feels more like listening to an old friend play some songs for you and reminisce. As should be expected from the title, Mr. Snider has a knack for telling stories about the multitude of people he has met and situations he’s gotten himself into. The songs are great; his tales keep you coming back. Like the one about the first time he took mushrooms, or how he became the lead singer of a cover band for a brief moment. You don’t just listen to the album; you’re a participant, fully transported from where ever you are to where you want to be.
While only three tracks are labeled as stories there are far more than that, sometimes during the song, and each one (story and song) is worth revisiting. Todd Snider is a showman, he feeds off the crowd making well loved and appreciated songs even better, harnessing crowd energy and creating an entirely different experience than the one on his albums. My personal current favorite tracks are “Play a Train Song”, played here as a somber, sentimental testament to a lost friend, and “East Nashville Skyline”, an upbeat, unconventional love song to the city he lives in. No matter what the subject matter of the song, Mr. Snider is always playful and charming. He says he plays to ease his own mind, I’d like to say, “thank you.”