Like the singer/songwriters he admires most, Todd Snider manages to effectively translate life experiences into songs that capture the imagination. On the R.S. Field-produced "New Connection," his fif

Like the singer/songwriters he admires most, Todd Snider manages to effectively translate life experiences into songs that capture the imagination. On the R.S. Field-produced "New Connection," his fifth album and second for Nashville-based indie Oh Boy Records (due May 14), Snider taps into his own emotions, travels, and human frailties while still managing to showcase an appealing sense of humor and his unique world view.

Snider says he tried to enter the studio this time around without any preconceptions about how the record would turn out. "I love getting to record, but the process always ends up a little more nerve-wracking than I like," he says. "This time it was more relaxed, and I was able to sit back and enjoy it more. Mostly I went out for wine."

The songs on "New Connection" range from the restless title cut and such Snider-esque humor as "Vinyl Records," "Statistician Blues," and "Beer Run" to tender ballads in "Rose City" and "Easy" and edgier, more musically daring material like "Broke" and "Class of '85." Snider's approach to songwriting is much like his self-description in "Easy," where he sings, "I find a way to trip all over almost every single step I take."

"I kind of trip over songs," Snider explains. "I just drive around and make up songs until I get 13 or 14 of 'em." The artist says he wrote the bittersweet "Class of '85" while performing. "I made that song up while I was playing another song at a show. I saw a guy in the audience that I thought I knew from high school."

One of the 13 "New Connection" cuts that Snider didn't write is "Crooked Piece of Time" by Oh Boy labelmate John Prine, who also sings on the song. The idea to cover the tune came while watching news coverage of last Sept. 11. "That phrase 'crooked piece of time' just came to mind," Snider says. Like his songwriting, he sort of stumbled into the somewhat more adventurous musicality of New Connection. "Most of these songs I wrote in a funny tuning, because I left my guitar like that and it stayed that way for a few days."





Excerpted from the April 27, 2002, issue of Billboard. The full original text of the article is available in the Billboard.com members section.

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