“I had to quit smoking pot. You know why? Because it was time to come up and sing!” Todd Snider chortled to the crowd. His two-day stint at Skipper’s Smokehouse in Tampa started Wednesday, Jan. 19, and with his vast range of genres, he attracted original Snider fans as well as those who recently joined the Snider club.
An instrumental connoisseur, Snider played most of his tunes with a guitar and a harmonica neck holder, blowing hot air into the harmonica between his comical and thought-provoking lyrics.
Snider specializes in his honest, and often humorous, socio-political lyrics and his balance of blues, folk and spoken word techniques. For his newest release First Agnostic Church of Hope and Wonder, he dabbled with funk.
“Funk is as far from folk as you can get, but I love Parliament and James Brown, and I wanted to try to fuse those two things together,” Snider confessed, saying that even though this album differs from his previous records and he doesn’t like a few of the new songs anymore, he’s happy with how the record turned out.
How did he come up with the album title? Beginning in 2021, Snider started his own series of livestreamed Sunday services.“I’ve been referring to our church as that. Poeple started calling our Sunday Sessions a church and I thought, well what kind of church? I sort of thought First Agnostic Church of Hope and Wonder, where we’re always hoping for something and wondering what the f*ck?”
Despite a minor hiccup with the amp during the first song, Snider was a hit. His humor and bluegrassy talent meshed well with the crowd. From calling himself a “Rastafari gypsy” and an “unprofessional folk” musician, to referring to his guitar as “a woodbox with strings on it,” Snider’s inkling to perform is apparent.
“I prefer to be on the road because I like to travel,” Snider told The Gabber in a pre-show interview. He furthered this idea during the show, “My tour started in 1994 and ended in that pandemic,” Snider called his Smokehouse shows stops on his second tour.