Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Album Review: Todd Snider's "Time As We Know It-The Songs of Jerry Jeff Walker"

In his second release in as many months, Todd Snider pays tribute to one of his biggest influences, the great Jerry Jeff Walker. Walker is probably best known for "Mr. Bojangles" which has been covered by nearly everyone imaginable. Walker is also credited with helping start the career of Jimmy Buffett, and ran around with the outlaws of country in the '70's, i.e. Willie and Waylon. But more than that, Walker's story-teller style is what has influenced Snider the most. If you have ever seen Todd live, it is one of the best shows you can see. He comes on stage, normally barefoot, and tells hilarious stories that lead to songs that can be, and usually are equally as funny. Some songs you may know from Snider in the past, "B-E-E-R Run", that you have heard on Bob & Tom, and "Alright Guy" covered by Gary Allan in the mainstream market. If your familiar with the singer-songwriter, folk style genre, you SHOULD already know who he is. Snider is a true artist, and captivates anyone that will sit and listen to him.

Jerry Jeff Walker
On "Time As We Know It-The Songs of Jerry Jeff Walker"(Aimless Records), Todd pays homage to the songs that have influenced him the most over the years, hand picking the ones most influential to him out of at least 30 years worth of  fantastic Jerry Jeff music. So many songs to choose from, but the 14 he chose are perfect. With "Sangria Wine", one of my personal favorites, I can picture Todd sitting down and flashing back to his early years and what made him want to be a song writer. "Railroad Lady" which Walker co-wrote with Jimmy Buffett is another fantastic rendition, well worth being on the album. Can't forget "Mr. Bojangles" or "Pissin' In The Wind", which he nails. I'm pretty sure that Todd knew all of these songs from memory, as they have his feel to them and seem to flow naturally, not the forced feeling that can come from a lot of tributes.

Snider & Walker on stage together
This album was produced by the Grammy Award winning Don Was (Bonnie Raitt, Bob Dylan, Elton John, Iggy Pop, Rolling Stones,and on and on.), and in my opinion, the only thing that could of made it better, is to hear a live version where Todd could tell the stories of why he picked the songs he did. Otherwise, it is a fantastic album well worth checking out. It is nice to see a singer care so much about his influences, and hopefully, if you don't know who Jerry Jeff Walker is OR Todd Snider you will take a minute to give them a listen. Promise you won't be disappointed.

Todd with his trusty sidekick, Cowboy Jim

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