Charlie Chaplin once said, “A day without laughter is a day wasted”. Well, if you asked the folks who gathered at The Handlebar, in Greenville, SC, on June 21, they would tell you it was definitely not a wasted day. Todd Snider made sure of that.
The scraggly folk singer/storyteller entered the stage with shirttail out, hat pulled down over his forehead and barefoot. He introduced himself during his “18 Minute Speech” and the fun began.
Snider had the audience at “don’t stop me if you’ve heard this” and from then on, the crowd laughed, cheered and many times, sang along.
His first song of the night, “The Ballad of the Kingsmen,” is mainly about the unfair censorship of some music by some people. The song starts off with how the Kingsmen recorded their version of the song “Louie, Louie” which led to the launching of an FBI investigation. Snider rants further about other censorship wrongs and faults of society. It is a great story with a brilliant ending.
The next two songs, “In Between Jobs” and “Horseshoe Lake” were followed by Sniders “Aaron Allen Story.” He tells of the first time he played in front of a crowd at a songwriter’s open mic. He knew he would be performing after Aaron Allen. He just didn’t know who Aaron Allen was or that the original song Allen would perform was Allen’s, not Willie Nelson’s.
Snider played many more songs and told more stories along the way. Some songs were from his newer albums, “Time as We Know It: The Songs of Jerry Jeff Walker” and “Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables.” as well as, songs and stories from earlier in his career. The encore included three songs, the last one being “Louie, Louie” …another brilliant ending.
The mouth organ playing, free spirited hippie is the ultimate storyteller. His songs are inhabited with characters ranging from losers to “Conservative Christian, right wing Republican, straight, white, American males.” The songs may make you laugh, they may inspire you, and they may even make you rethink what you’ve been thinking. Either way, he puts on a show that will definitely leave you wanting to hear more.
~ April Britt-Kelly
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