Hard Working Americans singer Todd Snider just wants to keep it real with their audience — wherever they are. “I try to remind myself that any one venue is not more special than where I’ll be next month,” he tells Billboard. “It’s all a microphone to me. You open your heart wherever you go. Sometimes people like it, sometimes they don’t. It’s really a crap shoot. You just have to be honest and hope you get clapped for, and deal with it if you don’t.”
The supergroup — which the roots-folk singer-songwriter helped form last December with bassist Dave Schools (Widespread Panic), guitarist Neal Casal (Chris Robinson Brotherhood), keyboardist Chad Staehly (Great American Taxi) and drummer Duane Trucks (King Lincoln) — will hit the stage on Thursday for the finale of the Nashville Dancin’ concert series, the day after playing a benefit at Acme Feed & Seed.
Snider is looking forward to soaking up the Music City sun before heading off to Alaska. “It’s a hometown show for me. There’s usually more people that you know in the crowd — the songwriters in the house,” he says. “It is unique unto Nashville. I wouldn’t say that’s a negative or a positive, it just is. You can feel the energy of poets in the building, which I like. It doesn’t freak me out with Hard Working Americans because I’m not singing any of my poetry. I’m usually high, so I don’t give a shit about much.”
Fronting the Hard Working Americans has been “the most fun thing I’ve done. My favorite thing is to learn, and I’ve learned so much about melody. I don’t mean that to be humble either. It’s fun to find out some shit about music that you don’t know,” says Snider. “So, being with a new group of five guys, there’s all kinds of albums that I haven’t heard, new ways to work your way around the music. I also like that everyone in the band has a different job, really, and mine is just to sing. I found the songs for the last record, which was really fun,” referring to the group’s self-titled album of covers, released in January.
And Snider has been hard at work on writing for the band’s next album. “I’m going to turn my poems over to the guys and see what happens. I don’t know whether that will be good, better, or worse, but it will be something to do,” he says. “I like not being the leader. I like David Schools being the leader. Neal Casal is the band director. I admire both of them very much, and I just feel a sense that I’m working for them — and not in a negative way. I’m a member of a team.”