Bob Snider,
Stealin' Home
(Borealis, 2002)

Bob Snider, one of Canada's most endearing and respected songwriters, is back in action after a too-long hiatus from performing and recording with Stealin' Home, a collection of 13 new direct and beautiful, quirky and funny folk songs. The songs were recorded live off the floor at Toronto's The Rogue Studio with a full band, featuring producer David Baxter (guitar, background vocals), the effervescent and energetic Bob Wiseman (piano, accordion, melodica), Terry Wilkins (bass) and Michelle Josef (percussion).

Snider's lyrics and music are uncomplicated -- he just steps up to the mic and throws it out there on tracks like the giddy "On a Night Like This," the Latin-tinged "Anna Marie," the canine ode "Dog" and the simply pretty "On My Own." There's a lovely relaxed feeling to this recording that makes it so enjoyable to listen to.

The aptly titled "Granny 1" and "Granny 2" see Snider describing portraits of a family, while in "Sweet Evening Breeze," he muses, with Wiseman's accordion and piano following him, on an unreachable companion. Next, he turns into a hurtin' metaphor-obsessed crooner on "Telephone Pole Blues," which includes Wiseman's whirling piano. "How to Build a Fence" really is a guide to sort of building a kind of fence -- good luck! And then out of nowhere comes a beautiful love song, "This is Just to Say," which brings a bittersweet smile to my lips, too.

The record comes to a fitting end with a secret bonus track, the trippy "Enthusiasm," on which Snider is joined by a choir of Joel Wortzman, Lisa Graziotto, Michael Wrycraft and his band, performing various vocal tricks and accompanying musical sounds.

It's difficult to describe Bob Snider's music to the uninitiated: it is silly and heartfelt, simple and funny, all at the same time. There's no way you can prevent a good mood from creeping up on you when this record is playing -- so I'd suggest surrendering to it and enjoying the lighthearted feeling.

- Rambles
written by Rachel Jagt
published 23 August 2003

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