TODD SNIDER – THE EXCITEMENT PLAN

Todd’s eighth studio effort, The Excitement Plan, contains Todd’s signature whimsical, half-drunk vocal deliveries along with pared down instrumentals and another host of misfits and outsiders. It was recorded over 2 1/2 days by Todd and producer Don Was with little rehearsal beforehand. The lack of rehearsal (I assume) helps lend to Todd’s slightly ramshackle sound.

There are plenty of people out there much better educated on the back story and discography of Todd Snider than I so I’ll leave it to them to be told, as I only discovered Todd with The Devil You Know. That said, I do think The Excitement Plan, possibly moreso than any previous album, really manages to showcase and display all of his gifts. You have the biographical tale of a 70’s-era Pittsburgh Pirate pitcher, Doc Ellis, who managed to pitch a no-hitter while on LSD, “America’s Favorite Pastime,” as well as the confessional of “Money, Compliments and Publicity”. There is even a duet with Loretta Lynn (who also shared in co-writing duties) “Don’t Tempt Me”, where Todd and Loretta are romantic combatants.

My favorite thing about The Excitement Plan is that it manages to be political without feeling preachy, which is a complete turn-off even if I agree with the politics.

Check out the album, it’s a blast to listen to.

Todd Snider – Money, Compliments, Publicity (Song Number 10)
Todd Snider – America’s Favorite Pastime
Todd Snider – Greencastle Blues

Todd Snider’s Official Site, Todd Snider on myspace, Buy The Excitement Plan

OTIS GIBBS – GRANDPA WALKED A PICKET LINE

I’d been hearing about this album for a while before I was actually able to get my hands on it. Knowing that the album had been available overseas for a month plus before arriving here in the states, I was pretty excited about getting it by the time it was available on Jan. 20. While Grandpa Walked A Picket Line is Otis’s fifth album, it’s my first exposure to the man from Wanamaker, Indiana. I was totally loving his weathered vocals from the moment he started singing, but it was the song “Preacher Steve” that sealed the deal for me. It wasn’t 30 seconds into that song when I was adding it to my “need to write about this” list, and by the time “Long Black Thunder” came through the speakers Mr. Gibbs had already earned himself a new fan.

Following the path that the Drive-By Trucker’s have forged, Otis writes of the normal man’s America, or as he puts it on his website “of an America that you don’t see on the evening news, but it is the America most of us see at our doorsteps.” It’s an America Otis has come to know honestly. Shunning the 9-5 life most of us begrudgingly suffer through, Otis has spent years of his life living on as little as $3000 per year. However, his strife (if you could call it that) is our gain, as it’s resulted in stacks of songs born of honest experience with the real blood of this country. Fuck, maybe that’s all hyperbole, I dunno. I do know this though, Grandpa Walked A Picket Line is most definitely Essential Listening. And while we’re flirting with hyperbole, lemme say that if Todd Snider and Otis Gibbs could make a baby it would be the Woody Guthrie, Hunter S. Thompson and the Jack Kerouac of it’s generation…you know, if we’re gonna get hyperbolic about it.

Otis Gibbs – Long Black Thunder
Otis Gibbs – Preacher Steve
Otis Gibbs – Caroline

Otis Gibbs’s Official Site , Otis Gibbs on myspace , Buy Grandpa Walked A Picket Line

TODD SNIDER – PEACE QUEER

“I nearly had to kill me a couple of them peace queers out behind the church this morning” – The Village Fuggs

This album was supposed to come out back in September, but in the 11th hour it was decided to hold it until October (Todd’s birthday month). So, it’s October and the album has finally been unleashed. Normally I am no fan of protest albums since they generally come off as preachy and trite, and as a whole Peace Queer is no different. The album unfolds in 8 chapters with the first being a premature declaration of victory (not unlike the war itself). The remaining seven tracks try to tell a story and I’ll let Todd give you the intended plot:

“In six sentences, the record goes like this: Here’s the kid being told every thing’s going to be great. Here’s the reality of that. Here’s that kid when he comes home a sad and banged-up and angry ‘winner.’ Here’s the breakdown of why I think that’s happening. Here’s the guy in our culture that I think is causing that to happen, and it’s not a president. And then here’s what I think is going to happen to that guy. And then we roll credits.”

I wouldn’t tell anyone that they should run out and buy Peace Queer tomorrow, but from now until the end of October I would tell you to run over to Todd’s web site and download it for free. Go get it for his cover of CCR’s “Fortunate Son” alone. It’s fabulous.

Todd Snider – Fortunate Son

Todd Snider’s Official Site, Todd Snider on myspace, Buy Peace Queer