East Nashville Skyline
“Too late to die young now,” Todd Snider declares on 2004’s East Nashville Skyline. Growing older doesn’t mean that this country-rock wiseacre has lost his wild streak, however. There’s keen social satire to be found in these songs, as well as an acceptance of life’s hard knocks and sorrows. Will Kimbrough’s unvarnished production frames Snider’s scruffy charm nicely, mixing folksy acoustic ditties with some full-throttle rock ‘n’ roll. “Tillamook County Jail,” “Age Like Wine” and “Nashville” have the weather-beaten wit of vintage Guy Clark or John Prine; “Incarcerated” and “Play a Train Song” careen with the drive of vintage Chuck Berry. Snider casts his lyric net wide, offering a peptalk to Mike Tyson (“Iron Mike’s Main Man’s Last Request”), defending the honor of garage rock (“The Ballad of the Kingsmen”), and leading his fans in a life-affirming singalong (“Enjoy Yourself”). Of particular note is “Sunshine,” a moody confessional tune that manages that find hope amidst a litany of despair. East Nashville Skyline is a testament to Snider's endurance, good humor and essential humanity.