Todd Snider Happy To Be Here

For some reason, America doesn't like clever songwriters. Over the course of a half-dozen albums Snider has consistently amused and astounded with his turns of phrase, making him one of the few heirs to such sly Southerners as John Prine and Jerry Jeff Walker. While Snider began with a full-blown country-rock band, this latest effort is a mostly acoustic affair, causing his words to hit even harder. The title track sets the tone immediately, poking fun at the media's mishandling of the Clinton saga, followed up a few songs later with a loving tribute to notorious bank robber and Southern hero D.B. Cooper. Snider's own frustrating career is also a frequent subject and this record finds him hoping to sell his soul to the devil in the brilliant "Back To The Crossroads." In fact, Snider seems incapable of writing anything other than sardonic jabs at American perceptions and stereotypes, and maybe that's why he's never broken through. Indeed, like most great satire you have to be in the mood for Snider's music, but once he gets under your skin you'll definitely want more. (Oh Boy)