Snider has never been at a loss of topics to cover – from his sly take on the
grunge movement in the mid-‘90s (“Talkin’ Seattle Grunge Rock Blues”) to young
American soldiers caught up in endless wars (“Bring ‘em Home”). But the cash
grab on Wall Street that ravaged the economy and led to the Occupy Movement
provided irresistible fodder for his latest Agnostic
Hymns & Stoner Fables. Not every
song is as blatantly inspired by the crash as “New York Banker” or “In Between
Jobs,” but the what-the-fuck-is-happening-to-the-world? vibe is threaded
throughout the record.
That’s not to say the album is a bummer, not
at all. As with just about every release Snider blows a pot-smoked kiss to
before sending it out into the world, he mixes plenty of wry humor with his
commentary. And nowhere is that humor shaper than on the opener “In the
Beginning,” a telling of greed long before Wall Street had ever been paved.
Though Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables is still the perfect mix of Jerry Jeff Walker and Lyle Lovett country/folk,
songs like “Too Soon to Tell” and “The Big Finnish” give the record a bit more
of a blues feel than his last few efforts.
Recorded in just under a week, and including
a cover of Jimmy Buffett’s “West Nashville Grand Ballroom Gown” (a nod to his
old boss at Margaritaville Records), Snider proves yet again that he is still
one of the best musical commentators going today.
DOWNLOAD: “In the
Beginning,” “Brenda” and “Too Soon to Tell” JOHN B. MOORE