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A New Kind of Country

BY JENNIFER HOCH | OCTOBER 10, 2013 5:00 AM

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Eccentric artist Todd Snider says his favorite aspect (or ascot) as a musician is being able to wear bandannas around his neck.

The singer/songwriter, who has grown a large fan base in Iowa City, will play at the Englert Theater, 221 E. Washington St., at 7 p.m. Oct. 13. Admission is $22 for advanced seating, $25 day of show.

"Todd has come through Iowa City for many years; he has a strong group of followers and people who expect to see him," said Andre Perry, the executive director of the Englert. "He's gained a cult following."

Snider's music, which combines country and folk, has gained a great deal of attention through his live performances. He is known for his interaction with the audience in between and during songs.

"He incorporates an aspect of storytelling and explains the meaning behind his songs," Perry said. "Even if you don't like his music, it's so different live. His performance is very kinetic."

When asked how to describe Snider's music, Perry responded with a Mark Twain line: "It's not as bad as it sounds." The 46-year-old, who doesn't seem to take anything too seriously, has been on the radar for the past 20 years, exciting crowds and fans by his seemingly less than perfect approach as a musician.

Snider says his favorite aspect of live performance is showing up late and being unprofessional at the shows.

"Also, the attention and the clapping chicks … I am happily married, so I am not like a pig chick chaser and never was, but when some pretty young girls are clapping man … I gotta say … it's pretty cool looking," Snider said. "Even my old lady thinks so. I can't undersell how enjoyable it is to be clapped for."

The native of Portland, Ore., never planned on being a musician.

"I never wanted to pursue a career," he said. "I wanted to be a burn-out and a disappointment to my mother. I've always pursued it as a way to give society the finger."

Kaitlyn Drake, an assistant director for SCOPE who has attended Snider's performances in years past, says his shows are pure entertainment.

"A friend of mine brought me to the Englert in 2011 to see [Snider] with her," Drake said. "I remember the two of us laughing and jamming and dancing to his music. It was an all-around show."


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