Okay, so he looks a bit like Beck, twangs and rambles like John Prine or Bob Dylan, crafts a song like Arlo Guthrie and tells a deadpan joke in the vein of Zach Galifianakis, but Tennessee songwriter's songwriter Todd Snider is a rare performer who can at once channel tradition and still step—poignantly and hilariously—out of its shadow.
"You Got Away With It (The Tale of Two Fraternity Brothers)" off 2006's The Devil You Know and "Conservative Christian, Right Wing, Republican, Straight, White, American Males" off 2004's East Nashville Skyline have already helped solidify Snider's reputation for writing biting protest songs (that not everyone likes.)
On Aug. 19, Snider will unleash similarly motivated Peace Queer, whose song cycle begins with "Mission Accomplished" and only moves forward from there—into cuts like a Civil War sea shanty, a cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Fortunate Son" and the album namesake "Ponce Of The Flaming Peace Queer."
To wit: the album cover photo features Snider held at gunpoint by a shirtless hippie. "Clearly," he wisecracks, "anyone who looks at the photograph can tell that I had been abducted by an international league of peace queers and forced to write protest music."
Still, Snider stays this side of heavy-handedness. He explains: "Things happen in this album besides you being told that war is wrong, with a beat. I don't know that war is wrong. I just know that I'm a peace queer, and I'm totally into it when people aren't fighting, in my home, at the bar where I hang out, or in a field a million miles away."
Peace Queer's tracklisting:
1. Mission Accomplished (because you gotta have faith)
2. The Ballad of Cape Henry
3. Fortunate Son
4. Is This Thing Working?
5. Stuck On The Corner (prelude to a heart attack)
6. Dividing The Estate (a heart attack)
7. Ponce of The Flaming Peace Queer
8. Is This Thing On?
To tide you over, watch Snider sing "Talkin' Seattle Grunge Rock Blues":
Review: Todd Snider - Near Truths and Hotel Rooms
Todd Snider on MySpace
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