Mable's Unique Gifts





Todd Snider is becoming one of my favorite musicians, and his live shows are not to be missed. I saw him for the first time at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco last October, and was instantly hooked. He has a stage presence that's unlike anyone else I've ever seen. Barefoot and dirty, it's just him, an acoustic guitar, and an occasional harmonica. His voice is a bit broken and rough sounding, but his charm, lyrics, and rapport with the audience borders on magical. He has a seemingly encyclopedic knowledge of music history, which he shares with fun anecdotes between many of his songs, and a lovable goofiness that you can't help but enjoy.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Todd last year while he was taking a break from touring, and you can read the interview if you CLICK HERE, and listen to it on our podcast if you CLICK HERE. Give 'em a look or listen and I hope you'll be sold.

Todd's currently touring across a good chunk of America, and seems to have solid dates lined up through May in the South and midwest area, after swinging through the Western states. I was lucky enough to catch him at San Francisco's Great American Music Hall on February 18th, and at The Palms in Winters on February 20th. I even had tickets to see him in Petaluma the following night, but a lack of sleep, a monster headache, and buckets of rain made me stay home.

The show at The Great American Music Hall was nice, but the sound in the facility was pretty bad. Some of Todd's introductions were nearly inaudible, and the opening act's performance by Jeffrey Foucalt, though no fault of his own, seemed like a giant mumble. Plus many people in the audience got really stupid and were shouting out requests during the last half of the show, including the hilarious "DO FREEBIRD!" option that is always such a crowd pleaser. Though it was a good show, the vibe just seemed really weird in the place, and the lack of an encore just punctuated it.

Luckily things were quite different the next show in Winters, a quiet little town about 40 minutes west of Sacramento and home to The Palms, which is one of the coolest and most intimate places you can ever hope to see a concert. Todd seemed to be enjoying himself a lot more and the audience was just great throughout. Local musician Rita Hosking gave a lively opening set that reminded me of a more earthy Emmy Lou Harris, and really set a fun mood for the rest of the night.

Todd told lots of stories, sang a good variety of songs from his library o' tunes, and was interactive with the crowd all night. His performance was deceivingly flexible, despite having a set list, it felt as if he was rolling with the punches of the night and giving the crowd fun bits of inspiration as it hit him. At one point when he reminded us to tip the bartender, someone shouted "That's CARL!", which made Todd laugh and tell a funny story about a small town in Alaska he visited.  

You can't go wrong checking out Todd Snider. If you've seen him before, you don't need to me to tell you, but if you haven't you're in for a treat. Check out his live album on iTunes if you want to get a feel for what his shows are like, but I guarantee you'll love the guy, or I'll drink a whole bottle of wine then eat a bug!

CLICK HERE to visit Todd's official site and see when he's coming to your town!

-Robert Berry






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