HomeWorld NewsCountry music in Nashville: Todd Snider releases 16-year-old album – Tennessean
Country music in Nashville: Todd Snider releases 16-year-old album – Tennessean
November 10, 2023
Todd Snider and his producer Eric McConnell lost an album over 16 years ago. It was gone, seemingly forgotten amidst the other songs Snider released and McConnell moved on to produce.
And now, the dust has been shaken off the record and cobwebs brushed away—”Crank It, We’re Doomed” is finally seeing the light of day.
On Nov. 10, Snider released the vaulted album which was recorded in 2007 in McConnell’s studio in Nashville and mastered by Jim DeMain, who ended up finding the lost album. The bluesy, garage rock narrative-heavy album brings listeners into stories about crime, love, lust, bullies and ballroom gowns.
The Nashville-based singer-songwriter Snider is known for his eclectic style that incorporates elements of the blues, folk, country, rock and funk. Known for songs “Beer Run,” “I Can’t Complain” and “Just Like Old Times,” Snider’s easy-going attitude and folksy flair shines through his songs.
Snider’s style and personality are just as colorful as his songs suggest, sitting down with The Tennessean to discuss his new music at his home outside of Nashville in a flat-brimmed hat, sunglasses and guitar in hand. Snider, who lives near a pond, even paused mid-interview to feed his goose friends.
The three-decade long and counting career that Snider has cultivated has seen lots of creativity—some hit songs were crafted and immediately released, others were just for Snider and friends. And now, like artists Prince and Neil Young, Snider has joined the ranks of those who have sat on an album for some years and decided to release it later.
The album takes listeners back to East Nashville in 2007, serving as a time capsule for the city during a creative renaissance. “East Nashville used to be the kind of place where somebody would make an album and lose it,” Snider said.
“I got in this for the lifestyle… or to be free. I wanted to be free.” And the East Nashvillian 2000s lifestyle? The city was crawling with deadheads, musicians were busking and artists were songwriting through the night. It was a rebellious time—a creative one.
Years later, when Snider and McConnell got to producing another album together, the two were bothered by the old album’s disappearance. Snider said, “We were sitting there just wracking our brains, where could it be? And finally Eric said, ‘I guess DeMain might have it.’”
And indeed, mastering engineer DeMain did have it. Listeners can hear the untethered ‘East Nashville freedom lifestyle” in Snider’s album, which was released in its original form with no rerecording.
Snider’s classic Troubadour flair takes influence from a range of musicians, including Jerry Jeff Walker, Kris Kristofferson, John Prine and Woody Guthrie. The storytelling in his songs transport his audience, and “Crank It, We’re Doomed” is no exception.
Standouts from the album include “Juice,” an upbeat, feel-good cruising song where Snider proclaims, “What’s the word when you’re bustin’ loose? / What’s the word when you know you’re loose?” Snider adds that this song was written specifically about East Nashville.
The swinging, bluesy “Handleman’s Revenge” brings upbeat rock piano and swelling harmonica solos. It’s impossible to listen without nodding along to the thumping tune. Snider sings, “I didn’t even wanna study economics / My parents made me cause they said it would be practical / I can’t make my kid do a goddamn thing I tell him to / That kids an unrepentant radical.”
Song “Don’t Tempt Me,” sang and recorded with the late country icon Loretta Lynn, is a blues-heavy duet where the two’s voices are effortlessly interlaced, singing a tune about infidelity. “Don’t tempt me baby / I got a good thing going at home / Too much to lose if I don’t leave here alone / Don’t tempt me baby,” they sing together.
“Crank It, We’re Doomed” features the voice and songwriting talents of famous friends, including Lynn, on three of its tracks. The final song on the album, “Good Fortune,” features Kris Kristofferson.
Song “Don’t Tempt Me Baby,” was co-written with Lynn and “West Nashville Ballroom Gown” was written by Snider’s friend and tropical rock king Jimmy Buffett. Lynn died in October of last year, and Buffett died in September of this year.
In response to releasing the songs he created with his late friends, Snider said, “It’s still real sad, like I’m really sad about Jimmy and struggling…
“I’m having a hard time with the loss of some people that are the people that I was, in my mind, maybe doing this for. Jimmy helped me a lot, a lot, a lot,” Snider said, adding that Buffett’s input about his music and thoughts on his art held significant weight to him.
Snider said, “I wish I hadn’t s***-canned it,” of the album, adding “I think it’s good now. And I think me and Eric, I felt like when I listened to it, we were at the top of our game and I was just sort of flying into the sun, which is sort of my job. I wish I had put it out, when I listened to it the other day.”
For Snider, the album is frozen in time, a preservation of one of the most vivacious and exciting points of his career. He said, “You know, that was the end of an era for me. I don’t say it with sadness, either. When you’re an artist, that’s the best, funnest years.
“I’m having a good time now. But it’s not like that. Like, we were really in the ether, me and my gang.”
Due to some health issues, Snider has chosen to cancel upcoming shows and discontinue touring for now. Fans can learn more about Todd Snider, his new music, and touring updates at toddsnider.com.