Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables

Todd Snider

Would you like someone other than a New Jersey millionaire to sing on behalf of the dispossessed? Todd Snider is established as Nashville’s most smart-assed singer-songwriter, and here’s an effort that shows how pissed off he is nowadays. Snider used to mix casually provocative ballads of America’s underbelly with some sweetly sentimental material — but you’ll have to hit his back catalog for any of that. Today’s Snider has his band play a thrashing version of folkie cowpunk, while the more-spoken-than-sung lyrics double-down with a blend of vitriol and black humor. One pair of songs spits in the face of religion and another pair considers violence against the rich. A guest shot by Jason Isbell shows that a little more disciplined musicianship might’ve improved the results — or it might’ve compromised the purity on display here.