LIVE: Green River Festival @ Greenfield Community College, 7/21/13 (Day Two)

August 5th, 2013, 4:00 pm by Greg

Review by Fred Rudofsky

The two-hour drive to Massachusetts for Day Two of the 27th annual Green River Festival, held at Greenfield Community College, goes by in a blur. Sunday’s crowd appears to be as large as the one the day before, and the temperature feels just as hot, too.

I missed Milton, the duo I had seen open for Chris Smither earlier in the month at Club Helsinki, so I head down to the Yonder Stage to catch a a few songs by the Sun Parade. A five-piece band, they mix acoustic and electric sounds, and it’s safe to assume they probably count Big Star as an influence. “I’m Still Here Till We Can Work It Out” and “Molly” sound decent, but I’m not feeling compelled to stick around – indifference, hunger and thirst are kicking in.

At the Main Stage is Heather Maloney, a singer-songwriter who appears to have some fans in the audience given the reception she and her band get. I try to give her a listen, but her voice has more ticks than a deer in summer. Unimpressed, I take a walk over to a hamburger stand to sate the growling in my gut and rejuvenate in the shade of some trees near the festival entrance.

The music of Louisiana, fortunately, is well represented in the Yonder Stage, so I slug down some water and head on over. Cedric Watson & Bijou Creole have a couple of hundred music lovers two-stepping and waltzing despite the mid-afternoon heat. Watson, age 29 but a seasoned musician, alternates between fiddle and accordion, and his sound draws inspiration from pioneers such as Dennis McGhee, Clifton Chenier, Boozoo Chavis. The band can boogie, too, and the crowd’s energy feeds right back to stage. Lyrics sung in English and Creole French blur together, and the thought of announcing the song titles seems secondary to Watson’s goal of keeping that hypnotic groove going…

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LIVE: Todd Snider @ The Egg, 3/10/12

March 15th, 2012, 11:00 am by Greg
Todd Snider

Todd Snider

Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

The bar in the lobby was doing a brisk business, and several fans in the sold-out crowd were apparently loose enough to think that maybe Todd Snider was their good buddy. Or that he’d play whatever songs they wanted him to play. Or maybe they just thought that yelling out requests was a good way to get a performer’s attention.

After the marvelous, John Prine-like character study “Iron Mike’s Main Man’s Last Request,” a barrage of six or eight rapid-fire song requests came shouted out from all corners of the jam-packed theater. Snider simply cocked his head, peeked out from under his hat and said firmly, “We actually have a boss-me-around portion of the show scheduled for later in the night.”

And then rather than playing one of the rowdy, raucous numbers that the loud-mouthed members of the crowd wanted to hear, Snider stayed the course, sliding into “Just Like Old Times,” another wistful, subtle tune about the reunion of two of society’s marginal hard-luck misfits, with its pithy chorus:

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Todd Snider, What Do You Listen to When You Clean the House?

March 5th, 2012, 12:00 pm by Greg
Todd Snider

Todd Snider

“I’ve been going through a real heavy metal phase, which I missed in school. I missed it. I didn’t get it. I really wish I had it to get again. I think I would have more fun in high school. But it just scared me, and that high voice was too much. So now I listen to Black Sabbath – which I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t get until I was 45 – and Iron Maiden and stuff like that.”

Wry and subversive alt-country singer-songwriter Todd Snider and his band step into the spotlight at The Egg in Albany on Saturday night in support of Snider’s new album, “Agnostic Hymns and Stoner Fables,” which is slated for release on Tuesday (March 6). They’re not likely to be playing any heavy metal classics… but you never know. Ashleigh Flynn opens the show at 8pm. Tix are $24.

Todd Snider’s Favorite Troubadours

January 31st, 2011, 2:15 pm by Greg
Todd Snider

Todd Snider

If there’s one thing that singer-songwriter Todd Snider knows all about, it’s telling stories. Rolling Stone magazine has named his “America’s sharpest musical storyteller.” His brand new double-disc live album is titled “The Storyteller.” And Snider is slated to ramble into Club Helsinki Hudson in Hudson at 9pm on Friday to regale us with his tales in person.

So we wanted to know about the troubadours whose songs and stories most inspired Snider. Here’s what we found out:

1. BOB DYLAN: For me, when it comes to being a fan of a troubadour, I have to laugh with you before I’ll cry with you, simply because most troubadours expect you to cry over their journal entries with them. Most troubadours are awful people. Bob, however, is not. I think he’s America’s finest contribution to the world, of any kind. He does not have a song I don’t like, and while he doesn’t talk much on stage, when he does, it’s precise, funny, wise and everything else. There really is no point in anyone else doing this troubadour thing. Hell, I once paid for a tape of Bob arguing on the phone…and I thought it was a great album.

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