Todd Snider talks about why he put together the Hard Working Americans, the least necessary part of music, and his lost 'Tommy' story. He also sets up and plays three tracks from the debut, self-titled album, Hard Working Americans.
- Bullseye Blues / American Babies / Knives & Teeth / 3:53
- Wrapped Around Your Little Finger / D.B. Rielly / Cross My Heart + Hope to Die / 3:17
- 50,000 Watts / Rosanne Cash / The River & The Thread / 2:58
- Coley / Left Lane Cruiser / Rock Them Back To Hell! / 5:20
- Money / Pierce Edens And The Dirty Work / Live / 5:01
- Pray To Jesus / Brandy Clark / 12 Stories / 3:23
- A Place In My Heart / Big John Hamilton and Doris Allen / The South Side Of Soul Street: The Minaret Soul Singles 1967-1976 Disc 2 / 2:26
- Half Empty / Kristina Murray / Unravelin' / 3:35
Todd Snider / Hard Working Americans Info
Todd Snider Interview Recap
Todd Snider Hard Working Americans
Calvin asks Todd Snider why he decided to create the new band, Hard Working Americans. He says that his favorite kind of bands are jam bands. He says, “My favorite thing that I think music does or the deepest thing that music does is make people move. And you can see two year-olds do it and when you see two year-olds do it, you know it's not because of the words. The words are part of it sometimes, it's not part of it for Booker T and the MGs. But if you're lucky.. ...Like I felt like I got into it because of the words, which is maybe even the least necessary part of it. But if you can rhyme words real good, you can weasel your way into the band. The funniest part of [Hard Working Americans] is I got in it because I made a living rhyming words and so the band is trusting that I would know the best of other people who rhyme words, or at least sift through the words that my friends rhyme and find stuff that would be true enough to myself that I could bring them into the group.”
Todd Snider sets up “Another Train” by Will Kimbrough. He says, “The main thing almost every traveling singer or musician has had this debate with their wife or significant other. Because we try to talk them into coming on the road and when they get out there we try to talk them into staying. You'd think they would want to go all the time, but after a few years, they wait for the beach show. I think Will Kimbrough is one of my closest friend but he's also a really melodic person, which is not my strong suit., which is the reason I was looking for other people's songs for this band because I wanted it to be very melodic. I'm hoping to learn about that in this process.”
[Calvin plays Todd Snider's cover of Will Kimbrough's “Another Train” from the Hard Working Americans album.]
Calvin asks if Weill Kimbrough had given him any feedback on his cover of that song on the Hard Working Americans album. Todd Snider says, “They are very different than his versions. People sometimes think that's offensive to the writers. I know when people change my songs is when I like it the most and I know he feels the same way. So he was really geeked out about how different they sounded. On this song he was excited about the riff that Neil wrote because that wasn't on the original version. “
Calvin asks Todd Snider to run through the band line of up the Hard Working Americans. On the piano and B3 it's Chad Staehly from Great American Taxi. On drums it's Duane Trucks who's played with Colonel Bruce for years and he's Derek Truck's brother. On bass it's David Schools from Wide Spread Panic and he's a leader. Neal Casal who plays with Chris Robinson Brotherhood and played with Ryan Adams and the Cardinals is the musical director. And those two, together they lead.”
Todd Snider sets up The Hard Working Americans cover of “The Mountain Song” by by Kieran Kane, Chad Jeffers, Sean Locke on the Shadows On The Ground album. He says, “This is a song written by my neighbor Kieran Kane wrote with some of his friends. He lives like three doors from me I can see his house right now. He's always been somebody I admire as a singer. I have all his albums. We don't hang out a lot, but I see him on the road and we'll sit around in hotel rooms and pick. At home we just kind of walk past each other's windows on the way to the coffee shop and wave. He was in the O'Kanes back in the 80's during the great credibility scare in country music. He had some hits when country music was someplace where a stoner could have a hit. And now he just sort of sits down there and writes poems and tours with Kevin Welch. He's a great cat I always love to see him coming. He's in out movie. I love a lot of his songs and that's just one that I brought to the band.”
[Calvin plays the Hard Working Americans cover of Kieran Kane's “The Mountain Song.” ]
Calvin asks Todd Snider about the story that's being told on the Hard Working Americans' album. He says, “I had been putting this album together for the band. I'd been making notes to myself on it and arranging the way it would go. And I had it all in my mind and it was like freaking Tommy. And I wrote it all out and I sent it to David, and he was like “Wow, this is fucking fascinating” and we went forward with that. But I haven't seen that again and I don't remember what I sent to him....”
Todd Snider sets up the Hard Working Americans cover of Hayes Carll's “Stomp and Holler.” he says, “I hate that kid. He's too good looking. Too talented. Too Tall! [laughs]. I don't want to say favorite, because I have a few. The generation behind me of what I'd say young people who wanted to be John Prine, that's what me and my friends were. And now there's whole generation that's ten years behind us, like Hayes Carll, Justin Townes Earl, Amanda Shires, Jason Isbell, and Elizabeth Cook, they knock me out a lot. Hayes Carll is one of the strongest ones. He's a good cat too and he'll come to my house when he's in Nashville. He was working on that song at my house one time. We were listening to a Van Morrison record where he had made some songs with a similar title. I thought he was joking and I didn't realize what a deep place he was going to take it.”
[Calvin plays the Hard Working Americans cover of Hayes Carll's “Stomp and Holler.”]
Todd Snider talks about the Hard Working Americans tour. He talks about the documentary call East Nashville Tonight which will show at about have the shows on the tour. He also has a book out that he will be doing readings from the next day at local colleges.
Todd Snider closes with a tip. He says, “If you like our band and you want to come see us, David Schools has switched sides. So if you want to be Schools' side you don't want to be the side that he's in on Widespread Panic, so if you want to be Schools' side, switch.”
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