People who write about music for a living tend to talk incessantly about that one favorite artist who, really, deserves a larger audience. For me, that artist is Todd Snider, who performs on Friday at the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center. So, if we ever run into each other late at night after I’ve had a few too many, please forgive me in advance for chewing your ear off about this guy.
Here’s the thing: I never expect people to like Snider as much as I do. And, sure enough, they never do. I don’t fault them for this. While there are several Snider records I’d make a case for being great—particularly his last three full-lengths, 2004’s East Nashville Skyline, 2006’s The Devil You Know, and 2007’s odds and ends compilation Peace, Love And Anarchy—I understand they aren’t packaged for mass appeal.
I don't mean that in the hipster asshole sense. Snider just doesn’t fit in anywhere right now. He’s a singer-songwriter who’s more of a smart-ass romantic than sensitive balladeer. He’s a bleeding heart liberal who plays country music in East Nashville, also known as the "wrong" Nashville. He’s a self-described “tree-huggin’, peace-lovin’, pot smokin’, porn watchin’ lazy ass hippie,” which is a convoluted way of saying “not very cool.” He’s a reject by design, a contrarian stoner moralist, the kind of stubborn individualist I have a hard time explaining and an even harder time not loving. Good luck trying to fit him into most people’s comfort zones.