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Todd Snider

Near Truths and Hotel Rooms – 2003 (Oh Boy)

Reviewed by Rick Teverbaugh

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CDs by Todd Snider

This is probably the best way to absorb Todd Snider's music. This live disc has 23 tracks, but 7 are song introductions and 1, "Beer Run" is repeated. The music was recorded at a half dozen different live venues and on one radio show. The reason this one-man show is the preferred exposure to Snider is because he doesn't have a great voice, and he's not a great guitar player. But he has a warm yet acerbic wit in both his between-song repartees and the tunes themselves that sound more appealing in this environment.

For those who don't recognize Snider's name or put any tunes with that moniker, his "Talking Seattle Grunge Rock Blues" was a minor radio hit right at the height of the alternative music craze. That song is included in this set with updated lyrics to fit today's musical landscape. Country music might be just about the only genre not lampooned in those four minutes.

Snider proves throughout that while his mostly folk-sounding material might not be for all tastes, those who find that music is truly not one of the things that has to be taken that seriously, will be richly rewarded. He is successful in getting some often-pointed opinions across without becoming preachy. If there's still room in today's world for a socially conscious troubadour, Snider is at the top of that heap.