An ornate carpet, a patterned-cloth covered bedside table, a guitar and a banjo set the stage for American singer-songwriter Todd Snider's performance Tuesday night at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater.
After an opening set from folk artist Kevin Gordon, Snider walked on the stage with his hat held high as he greeted the audience. His dog, Cowboy Jim, followed behind him.
A mixture of oohs and aahs escaped the lips of audience members as they watched Cowboy Jim pace around the stage and finally lie down on the floor, where he stayed for Snider’s first three songs.
Snider, 52, opened the show with his song “Just Like Overnight” from his album “Cash Cabin Sessions, Vol. 3.”
“Seems like day after day goes by like nothing is ever gon’ change,” Snider sang to the audience. “All we seem to know for sure now is how we can’t go on like this.”
Snider’s sound combines Americana, alt-country and folk. Most of his songs are stories based on his personal memories and often feature him talking to the audience in a sing-song voice. At times, when he would take a break in between songs to give a brief introduction, it was difficult to recognize where the stories stopped and the songs began.
After two songs, Snider announced that this performance is the kickoff to a year-long tour.
“It’s going pretty good so far,” he said.
Snider played some new songs, but also made sure to mix in plenty of his recognizable numbers for his fans because. As he said earlier in the show, he hates attending concerts and not knowing all of the set list.
When Snider did play an older song, he could always expect the audience to sing at least part of that song back to him.
One of these active audience members who sang whenever he could was Ron Gomez.
Gomez drove three and a half hours from St. Louis, Missouri just to see Snider play. He’s been a fan of Snider’s for four years, and he said he’s seen Snider perform dozens of times but still continues to travel for his shows.
“I can relate to most of his lyrics in some fashion of my life and that’s why I like to be here,” said Gomez. “When it hits you in your soul, you know it’s for you.”
Jon Williams, an IU custodian, attended the show because he said he thought it would be a fun early Valentine’s Day date for him and his wife, Jessica.
“It was a great show,” Williams said. “It definitely exceeded our expectations.”
At the end of the show, Snider put his guitar down and walked over to his dog, who had returned to the stage for the last song. Snider kissed his nose, scratched his back and jogged off stage, following behind Cowboy Jim.
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