If you go
› What: Todd Snider with Rorey Carroll
› Where: Walker Theatre inside Memorial Auditorium, 399 McCallie Ave.
› When: 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17
› Admission: $35 and $20
› Online: tivolichattanooga.com
› Phone: 423-757-5580
When Todd Snider takes the Walker Theatre stage in a solo show on Saturday, he will have in mind a certain member of the audience that he will be performing for. Actually, it could be more than one person, but it's essentially the same person he tries to reach with his music at every show.
"The main thing for me is I like to think of myself as someone who sings to someone who is [messed] up."
Snider said he has made enough mistakes and bad decisions for just about every member of an audience, so if people can see themselves in him, or learn from him, or just be glad they aren't him, he's good with that.
"I get to every gig and think 'Use me.'"
One thing he won't do is preach or try to tell someone how they should do things.
"I feel like anytime I hear myself speaking with authority, I regret it. Anytime a song says 'You gotta. ...' I'm thinking 'No, I don't.' I don't have to know when to fold 'em, or when to walk away."
Snider began his career as a solo act, performing his almost folky rock songs with clever and poignant lyrics, but for the last five years he has been touring with the Hard Working Americans. He joined forces with Dave Schools of Widespread Panic, along with Neal Casal, keyboardist Chad Staehly and Duane Trucks with the goal of learning what the jam band world is all about.
Snider said at the time and again last week that he has always been about the words and he wanted to learn how to write and perform songs that reached into the soul and the brain, and that make you shake your booty. It has been a learning process for him.
"I don't play guitar in the band, but I'm three times better at it because I have teachers on the bus," he said.
"I've also learned how to create a melody, which is the thing I was the weakest at. I've gotten a major education in how to make a chorus."
In addition to learning from his bandmates, Snider said another big influence has been Col. Bruce Hampton.
"Also a comedian named Richard Lewis. He doesn't do planned stuff, so he's a lot like Widespread Panic. He kind of has a plan, but then he just reacts. That's the jam band ethic."
Contact Barry Courter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6354.