If you’ve never heard of Todd Snider, then That Was Me: Todd Snider 1994-1998, released August 30, 2005, is an introduction. If you’re already a fan, then his first compilation, following seven critically acclaimed albums, is a tribute to his wry, honest, brutal and yet funny body of work. Featuring 17 tracks culled from his first three albums, plus a previously unreleased cover of Jimmy Buffett’s “Margaritaville,“ That Was Me was created with Snider’s full participation and includes his own liner notes and detailed song-ography.
Snider’s influences are the likes of Randy Newman, Bob Dylan and Neil Young. Born in Portland, OR, he moved to Santa Rosa, CA, after high school and learned to play the harmonica. His brother, living in Austin, TX, figured Todd might find a job in a band there, so he sent him a plane ticket. After seeing Jerry Jeff play in a local bar, Snider indeed decided that was what he wanted to do with his life.
During a mid-‘80s stint in Memphis, where he established residency at the Daily Planet club, he was discovered by Keith Sykes, a member of Jimmy Buffett’s Coral Reefer Band. John Prine then hired Snider as an assistant and eventually had him open shows. When Buffett heard Snider’s demos, he signed him to his MCA imprint Margaritaville Records. His debut album, 1994’s Songs For The Daily Planet, starred “Talking Seattle Grunge Rock Blues” as well as “Alright Guy,” “Trouble,” “You Think You Know Somebody,” “Easy Money” and “That Was Me.”
For 1996’s Step Right Up, Snider and his band, the Nervous Wrecks, continued blending bluegrass, blues, folk-rock and country-rock to forge their own distinctive sound. That Was Me reprises its “Enough,” “Hey Hey,” “Moon Dawg’s Tavern,” “Horseshoe Lake,” “Tension,” “Better Than Ever Blues (Part Two),” “Late Last Night” and “Side Show Blues.” 1998’s Viva Satellite contributes “Can’t Complain,” “Guaranteed” and “Doublewide Blues.”
Snider has since issued four albums on Prine’s indie Oh Boy Records, including 2004’s East Nashville Skyline. His latest studio album, The Devil You Know, was released in August of 2006. It marked Snider's return to a major label, as he is now recording for Universal Records. The Devil You Know was named to several critics' year-end "best" lists, including a No. 33 ranking in Rolling Stone magazine's top 50 albums of 2006. Snider's new album, Peace Queer, was released on October 14, 2008. Peace Queer reached #1 on the Americana Airplay Chart on October 27, 2008.
Todd Snider performs Friday and Saturday, February 13-14, in the Celebrity Showroom at 8 p.m. Tickets are just $32 and are available by calling (800) 648-1177 or (775) 356-3300 or by visiting janugget.com. Dinner and show packages are available. “Do The Nugget Tonight!”