Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Mission Accomplished (Todd Snider)

May I just tell you how much I love Todd Snider?!? - he's been one of my favorite singer-songwriters ever since I first heard his Talking Seattle Grunge Rock Blues, a hidden track on his Songs for the Daily Planet CD, waaaaay back in 1994.

He comes across as a stoner dude (could be some validity to that... :-) but his ability to memorize and play not only hundreds of his own songs but those of his heroes (Robert Earl Keen, John Prine, Bob Dylan among them) shows he's in full faculty of more brain cells than all his fans combined will ever lose. His tunes range from hysterical (Beer Run) to heart-wrenching (You Think You Know Somebody) - he's a consummate songwriter, clever without being predictable, educational without being preachy and emotional without being smarmy.

His way with a phrase is beyond brilliant ("I've always been afraid of a 12 step crowd, they laugh too much and talk too loud, like they all know where everyone should be"... "Got a lump on my head and a boot print on my chest from what the guys in here call the Tillamook County lie detector test"... "You know that was so underhanded, grabbing him just as you landed, after holding me the whole time you fell") - for a while there, I used one of his lyrics to evaluate the people in my life ("you're either out of control or you're stuck"... :-)

I've seen him live a handful of times (he almost always plays barefoot), once at the 2001 Folk Alliance in Vancouver (I went to all his showcases) and on a few more occasions at The Bamboo Room here in South Florida, an intimate listening space which has unfortunately since closed down - I have his Vinyl Records T-shirt, his Peace Love Anarchy baseball cap (which Janis Ian commented on this past July at Falcon Ridge, saying she and Todd were e-mail buddies), every commercial CD he's ever released and quite a few bootlegs made available through his avid fanbase, a few DVDs... and countless memories of the joy his music has given me: priceless!

And now his new CD, Peace Queer, is about to be released on October 14 (his birthday) - I've pre-ordered, so am keeping my fingers crossed it arrives Tuesday, a week from today. "Fighting for peace, that's like screaming for quiet" - I repeat... brilliant... :-)

His website is being re-done... but check out this fan-driven site, called Eighteen Minutes for the monologue he usually does during his shows (“Some of it’s sad, some of it’s funny, and sometimes I’ll go on for as many as 18 minutes in between the songs.”), for all things Todd - he never fails to amaze... and challenge... and entertain!

[Added 10/8/08: Austin American-Statesman article... ]

SONG: Mission Accomplished by Todd Snider (no lyrics available yet)

The Moral Architecture of World Peace: Nobel Laureates Discuss Our Global Future by Helena Cobban

POEM: Wildpeace by Yehuda Amichai

Not the peace of a cease-fire

not even the vision of the wolf and the lamb,

but rather

as in the heart when the excitement is over

and you can talk only about a great weariness.

I know that I know how to kill, that makes me an adult.

And my son plays with a toy gun that knows

how to open and close its eyes and say Mama.

A peace without the big noise of beating swords into ploughshares,

without words,

without the thud of the heavy rubber stamp: let it be

light, floating, like lazy white foam.

A little rest for the wounds - who speaks of healing?

(And the howl of the orphans is passed from one generation

to the next, as in a relay race:

the baton never falls.)

Let it come

like wildflowers,

suddenly, because the field

must have it: wildpeace.

QUOTE: "The pacifist's task today is to find a method of helping and healing which provides a revolutionary constructive substitute for war." ~ Vera Brittain


  1. Of course you already know this, but I looooove Todd. He has such an effect on me! I had not seen this video yet, and as I watched it, chills ran through me. That seems to happen quite frequently when I encounter this artist's work. I remember the first time I heard Todd, the song was "Ballad of the Kingsmen" and I've been hooked every since.

  2. Hey, Maggie Ann ~

    I do know you looooove Todd - in fact, it's how I discovered you, from a blog link at the end of one of your Todd-list posts... :-)

    I adore that his "demographic" is all over the map, literally and metaphorically - he's insanely talented.

    Ballad of the Kingsmen is one of my favorites too... and Trouble (from his first CD) is one of the best non-country country songs ever...

    Smart guy, crazy world - it's a perfect combination!