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September 16, 2021 at 8:00 pm
You don’t often hear about an artist reinventing their sound eighteen albums into a celebrated career. But for Todd Snider, his latest release, First Agnostic Church of Hope and Wonder, isn’t so much a sudden change in direction as an arrival after years of searching.
“I miss banging around America like it’s my yard,” Snider says of the lost, last year. “I like to play for people. Staying home, I gardened, I got a boat, I played guitar a lot. But then I usually don’t make up ten songs in one year, so that’s one good thing about the pandemic.”
The other key framing device for the new songs is the album’s colorful title. “If the gods of folk didn’t want no funk, they shouldn’t have started none,” Snider says with a chuckle. “2020 was a terrible year, and it kept taking people that I loved. So I kept feeling funky, and the church idea came out of that. I’ve always had the First Agnostic Church of Hope and Wonder in mind. He playfully undermines typical sermon themes like faith can move mountains – on “Turn Me Loose (I’ll Never Be the Same”), he reckons “Mountains can get around just fine on their own – and finding meaning on mystical sojourns
I’d like it to feel like a drum circle or a revival for listeners. I’d like it to feel like a hippie summer, where you listen to the songs by a beautiful lake.