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Todd Snider | Cash Cabin Sessions Vol. 3

The Nashville singer enjoys some quiet time on this solo acoustic offering.

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Todd Snider has always been a moving target. But for the past few years, the Nashville vet has really had the pedal to the metal. His 2016 album Eastside Bulldog — starring his redneck alter ego Elmo Buzz — was a rambunctious roots-rock raver. He followed that with 2017’s We’re All in This Together, a full-blooded live album from his supergroup jam band side-project Hard Working Americans. After all that racket, the 52-year-old singer-songwriter was due for a little quiet time. And he makes the most of it on his umpteenth release, the playfully titled acoustic solo album Cash Cabin Sessions Vol. 3, which was indeed recorded at The Man in Black’s home studio but is not the third part of a trilogy. That right there should tell you what you need to know. Which is this: Snider’s guitar is unplugged on these 10 songs, but the eternal loose cannon, hanging judge, cynical idealist and all-around wiseacre remains an electrifying presence throughout the 34-minute offering. Sometimes he’s hotwired straight into the zeitgeist, like on the Dylan-inspired folk of Talking Reality Television Blues (which laments how “an old man with a combover … sold us the moon”) or the the bluesy, Tom Waitsian A Timeless Response to Current Events (which basically boils down to: “Ain’t that some bullshit?”). Other times he’s got an open line to his musical forebears and influences, as on Cowboy Jack Clement’s Waltz, Watering Flowers in the Rain (about one of Elvis Presley’s roadies) and The Ghost of Johnny Cash, which Loretta Lynn once claimed to see in the same studio where Snider recorded. And sometimes he’s tapped straight into your heart, like on the heartworn Like a Force of Nature, the nostalgic Just Like Overnight and the Sisyphean musician’s lament Working On a Song. Whichever flavour suits your taste, Snider doesn’t come any purer and more potent than this. He’s right on target.