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Leaving Seattle six CDs ago to travel the country writing songs, Todd Snider has steeped his craft in a wealth of experience. As he sings on “Age Like Wine,” the opener to “East Nashville Skyline,” he’s gone through, “Seven managers, five labels/a thousand picks and patched cables/three vans, a band/a bunch of guitar stands/and cans and cans and cans of beer.”

Snider’s lo-fi, country-tinged style slides easily around his shrewd observations, and his up-all-night voice. His Steve Earle-like guitar licks sound as earthy and sardonic as his sense of humor. On “Conservative Christian, Right-Wing Republican, Straight, White, American Males,” he says more than all the country’s editorial pages put together about the real state of politics in the States. On “Incarcerated,” he ups the tempo to rock ‘n’ roll speed for a hilarious litany of improbable excuses in one of the best versions ever on the apologizing-to-the-judge song.

Snider also changes points of view with experienced ease. Whether celebrating the departure of a girlfriend, speaking for Mike Tyson’s right-hand man or contemplating suicide, Snider brilliantly reinvigorates the tradition of classic American songwriting.

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