Todd Snider “Time As We Know It: The Songs of Jerry Jeff Walker” – CD Review
Todd Snider has always held the music of Jerry Jeff Walker in high regard. Since seeing him perform in Austin for the first time in the early 80's, the "Gypsy Songman" has had a huge influence on Snider's life and music. I suppose it was only a matter of time before Snider, a veteran country and Americana singer/songwriter in his own right, would get "Time As We Know It: The Songs of Jerry Jeff Walker".
"Time As We Know It" is not only a tribute to Jerry Jeff Walker, it is an extremely flattering acknowledgement to what Walker has done to influence a very good singer/songwriter. Todd Snider already has a long list of accomplishments to his credit, including churning out nearly an album a year for the past two decades. Snider didn't have to make this CD to further his career. I get the feeling he just felt he had to do something to show his appreciation to Jerry Jeff Walker.
Now, if you're a Jerry Jeff Walker fan, I believe you'll really like this CD. Thanks to technology, these are crisp and clean recordings. But Snider was careful to make sure the songs kept their original feel. It is not just a selection of Jerry Jeff tunes played by some fan of the song "Mr. Bojangles". Snider has clearly studied and admired his subject. Todd Snider pays tribute with a Walker-esque laid back, casual, slightly buzzed delivery that few can pull off. The lyrics are accentuated by the emotion in Snider's voice, just as they always have been with Jerry Jeff.
"Time As We Know It" is loaded with Jerry Jeff favorites. Walker's most popular song, "Mr. Bojangles" is paid tribute, as well as "Sangria Wine", "Pissin' In The Wind" and "Jaded Lover". It seems that Todd Snider recorded all 14 songs on the CD with careful consideration of the legend they honor.
The only obvious omission is "Redneck Mother", which was written by Ray Wylie Hubbard and made a cult hit by Walker. I've had the honor of talking with both of these Texas legends in recent years, and they didn't strike me as "on good terms" with one another. I'm not sure if that's the reason "Redneck" didn't make the cut, but you won't miss it too much. The rest of "Time As We Know It" is a solid work of art.
As a fan of Jerry Jeff Walker myself, I give "Time As We Know It" my endorsement. The CD is definitely worth a listen, and I'm looking forward to seeing Snider play a Jerry Jeff song or two live, along with Todd Snider originals.