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Singer/songwriter Todd Snider first garnered attention for his timely alt-rock satire "Talkin' Seattle Grunge Rock Blues," a folk-rock song that struck a chord with younger people fed up with angry alternative rock bands, and at the same time, appealed to aging rockers who grew up with the folk revival of the 1960s. Snider was born in Portland, Oregon, and grew up in Santa Rosa, Austin, Houston, and Atlanta. After moving to Memphis in the mid-'80s and establishing residency at a local club named the Daily Planet, he was discovered by singer/songwriter Keith Sykes, a member of Jimmy Buffett's Coral Reefer Band. Sykes began to work with Snider to help advance his career, and after passing on demo tapes of Snider to Buffett, he was signed to the star's Margaritaville Records. Snider's debut album, Songs for the Daily Planet was released in the fall of 1994; "Talkin' Seattle Grunge Rock Blues" was added to the album as an afterthought only after intense lobbying by a Canadian music critic, and ultimately became a minor hit.
On his second effort, 1996's Step Right Up, Snider and his band, the Nervous Wrecks (comprised of lead guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Will Kimbrough, bassist Joe Mariencheck, drummer Joe McLeary, and keyboardist David Zollo), continued blending bluegrass, blues, folk-rock, and country-rock to forge their own distinctive sound. On his third album, 1998's Viva Satellite, Snider took a Tom Petty approach, replacing much of his acoustic setup with twang-drenched electric guitar. In 2000, he signed to John Prine's Oh Boy label and returned to his singer/songwriter roots with Happy to Be Here. He recorded three more records for the label, 2002's New Connection, 2003's Near Truths and Hotel Rooms Live, and 2004's East Nashville Skyline. That Was Me: The Best of Todd Snider 1994-1998 was released on Hip-O in 2005, and the next year Snider's eighth album, Devil You Know, came out. In 2008 Snider released the politically charged Peace Queer, an eight-song collection of antiwar songs as filtered through Snider's signature wit and amiable pathos. The Excitement Plan appeared from Yep Roc Records in 2009. In 2011, he released the two-disc concert set Live: The Storyteller, while 2012 saw both a traditional studio outing, Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables, plus a tribute album, Time as We Know It: The Songs of Jerry Jeff Walker.
Todd Daniel Snider (born October 11, 1966) is an American singer-songwriter with a musical style that combines Americana, alt-country, and folk.Bogdanov, Vladimir; Woodstra, Chris; Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (2003). All Music Guide to Country: the definitive guide to country music By Vladimir Bogdanov, Chris Woodstra, Stephen Thomas Erlewine. Backbeat Books. ISBN 978-0-87930-760-8 Chris. Willman (2005). Rednecks & Bluenecks: the politics of country music. ISBN 1-59558-017-4
Singer-songwriter Todd Snider was born in Portland, Oregon, United States, and lived there until his family moved to Houston. When he was 15, he ran away from home with a friend and went back to Portland. After high school, he moved to Santa Rosa, California, to be a harmonica player. Then his brother, who lived in Austin, Texas, bought him a ticket to move there. After seeing Jerry Jeff Walker in a local bar, Snider decided that he didn't need a band to be a musician.
After moving to Memphis in the mid-1980s and establishing residency at a club named the Daily Planet, he was discovered by Keith Sykes, a member of Jimmy Buffett's Coral Reefer Band. A longtime acquaintance of John Prine and Walker, Sykes began to work with Snider to help advance his career. Prine hired him as an assistant and then invited him to open shows. In time, Buffett heard Snider's demo tapes and signed him to his own label. On his music, Snider has said "I was just trying to come up with the best... most open hearted ... well-thought-out lyrics I could come up with. I wanted every song to be sad and funny at the same time, vulnerable and entertaining at the same time, personal and universal at the same time. I wanted every song to be as uniquely written as possible and then I wanted to perform them in a studio loose and rugged and hopefully as uniquely as I could. My hope is to be hard to describe and/or new…I'm not saying I am. I'm just saying that's the hope.""Todd Snider Bio, History". Retrieved 31 July 2012. "Todd Snider - The Official Site - Bio". Archived from the original on 2011-07-24. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
Snider's 1994 debut album on MCA, entitled Songs for the Daily Planet, was named for the bar where Snider used to play regularly in Memphis. On that album were the minor hits "Talkin' Seattle Grunge Rock Blues"—a folk song about the early '90s grunge scene, featuring a band that "refused to play" —and "Alright Guy", which later became the title cut of Gary Allan's 2001 album.
He released two more albums for MCA, Step Right Up and Viva Satellite before moving to John Prine's Oh Boy Records where he made Happy to Be Here, New Connection, Near Truths and Hotel Rooms, East Nashville Skyline, and Peace Love and Anarchy. That Was Me: The Best of Todd Snider 1994–1998 was released on the Hip-O Records label in August 2005.
Snider's next studio album, The Devil You Know, was released in August 2006. It marked his return to a major label, New Door Records, a subsidiary of Universal Records. The Devil You Know was named to several critics' year-end "best" lists, including a No. 33 ranking in Rolling Stone magazine's top 50 albums of the year, a No. 25 ranking by No Depression magazine, and No. 14 by Blender magazine.
Snider's album, Peace Queer, was released on October 14, 2008, and reached No. 1 on the Americana Airplay Chart on October 27, 2008. His album, The Excitement Plan, was released on June 9, 2009, on the YepRoc Label and was produced by Don Was.
Snider contributed a cover version of "A Boy Named Sue" to the 2010 Sugar Hill Records album Twistable Turnable Man, a tribute by various artists to songwriter Shel Silverstein.
Snider's songs "Late Last Night" and "I Believe You" have been recorded by the Oklahoma red dirt band Cross Canadian Ragweed. He co-wrote the song "Barbie Doll" with country star Jack Ingram.
In February 2011 Todd Snider released a double disc live album called The Storyteller on his own record label Aimless Records. The album features live versions of songs spanning much of Snider's career along with some of the stories that have become a staple of his live show.
In April 2012 Todd Snider released two albums. The original, Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables, and a tribute album, Time As We Know It: The Songs Of Jerry Jeff Walker. The latter album is an homage to country singer-songwriter Jerry Jeff Walker. American Songwriter claims, "Snider has been carrying on Walker’s scraggly Texas-styled country/Americana tradition since he started."
The album Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables was listed at #47 on Rolling Stone's list of the top 50 albums of 2012, saying " One of the sharpest, funniest storytellers in rock, Snider keeps the indictments coming."
On December 20, 2013, Snider debuted a new band called Hard Working Americans at a benefit concert at the Boulder Theater in Boulder, CO for Colorado Flood Relief. The band's first album is a collection of lesser known cover songs, to be released January, 2014. Todd Snider said in an interview that he chose some of the covers because they were melodic and "I wanted it to be very melodic. I’m hoping to learn about that in this process." The group includes bassist Dave Schools (of Widespread Panic), guitarist Neal Casal, keyboard player Chad Staehly and drummer Duane Trucks. The band also released a cover of Come From the Heart with Roseanne Cash, made available on iTunes in September 2014."Todd Snider: The Storyteller on JamBase". Jambase.com. Retrieved 2013-09-01. "Todd Snider: Time As We Know It - The Songs Of Jerry Jeff Walker". American Songwriter. Retrieved 10 April 2012. "50 Best Albums of 2012: Todd Snider, 'Agnostic Hymns Stoner Fables'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2013-09-01. interview on the Americana Music Show #175, released January 20, 2014.