Though Todd Snider ended his The Get Together livestream series on May 9th after nearly 14 straight months of weekly livestreams, that didn’t mean the troubadour was throwing a padlock on his Purple Building studio. On Tuesday, Snider welcomed local NPR affiliate WMOT into his East Nashville studio for the latest installment of the Wired In series, where the singer-songwriter performed selections from his latest album, First Agnostic Church of Hope and Wonder.
Following some opening chit-chat with the Wired In host, and a quick plug of his opening tour, Snider got right down to business. Though he does have a new album to promote, that didn’t stop the bard from opening his performance with “Those Lazy Hazy Crazy Days of Summer” by Nat King Cole. Between The Purple Building, familiar camera angle, the oddball covers, and, of course, Todd Snider himself, the Wired In session felt like just another Get Together.
The looseness continued with the coveted original “I Can’t Complain” before Snider finally dug into the new album with “Sail On, My Friend”. Written for Jeff Austin who died in 2019, the stripped-down acoustic rendering of the memorial for a lost friend and mentor took on an added emotional weight. “Sail On, My Friend” is a lament, Snider revealed, about his last conversation with the mandolinist in which Snider regrets not telling Austin to skip the next gig and just “Sail On, My Friend”.
Snider then demurred from his new material once again to dig into his second most recent album, Cash Cabin Sessions, Vol. 3, for “Like A Force of Nature”. The studio recording features Jason Isbell on the track, but here Snider once again reduces the song to its most basic form. As far as digging into First Agnostic Church goes, it’s not terribly surprising that Snider doesn’t perform more songs during the Wired In session. As he explained to the session’s host, the whole mentality behind the album was to record something that would take a long time, given that Snider now possesses his own recording studio. The whole album is also an homage to the fatback funk sound of the 60s and 70s, something difficult to replicate on a lone acoustic guitar.
Following a bit more chitchat, Snider returned with a cut from the Hard Working Americans catalog, “Roman Candles”. Though this was another song that was recorded with a dense live band—featuring Neal Casal, Dave Schools, and Duane Trucks, among others—the acoustic rendering has been a common choice for Todd.
Switching over to the piano, Snider delivered the second, and ultimately final, First Agnostic Church track, “Handsome John”. His eulogy for John Prine still weighs heavy on both the singer and the audience over a year after Prine’s death. In that same vein, Snider closed his Wired In session with his piano rendering of Prine’s “Crooked Piece of Time”.
Watch Todd Snider’s recent appearance on NPR’s Wired In.
Todd Snider – NPR Wired In
[Video: Todd Snider]