TRUTHS AND HOTEL ROOMS (Oh Boy)
nothing like a live CD to show the mettle and soul of a songwriter. It's
somebody allegedly in the business of laying their soul bare in the process
of doing just that in front of a crowd. The long and (especially) short
of their chops are exposed, and in certain cases you really get a look
at the artist's personality. (Or at least the short version of that, their
persona. Either or both can be interesting.)
Truths and Hotel Rooms, you get to see what a loveable hoot Todd Snider
is, and that's why the audience is going bananas. The show starts with
the classic Dean Martin recording of "That's Amore" that segues into Todd
picking his guitar and picking up the song where it left off
hippie slacker take on being a folksinger is really entertaining, because
the cat can spin a yarn. He does several talking blues (a dormant art
form), including the memorable "Statistician's Blues" and the bizarre
"Talking Seattle Grunge Rock Blues." In the latter, his MTV-bound band
that won the hearts of their rebellious crowd by refusing to play their
songs gets edged out by a band that refused to even form.
to this album, I thought of another live singer songwriter record, last
year's Live Songs & Stories by David Wilcox (you can hear clips
from that on Listen page #10). Although it's
equally entertaining, these discs represent two sides of the spectrum.
The rap-port between songs is an essential component of each record, every
bit as important as the songs. Wilcox's impeccably scripted patter comes
off like ironic comedy for the self help crowd, where Snider's rants come
off more like screwball barroom humor.
are some serious and touching songs, too, like "Waco Moon" (started after
hearing about the tragic overdose of Eddie Shaver) and "Lonely Girl."
I like them all, and the raps in between are pretty damn great. The classic
"Beer Run" gets cut twice on this record, one version is live on the Bob
and Tom morning radio show.
the great knucklehead folksingers of our time. Get it, here.
to covers listen