Johnny Cash's cabin is setting for fine Todd Snider album

This cover image released by Aimless Records shows "Cash Cabin Sessions, Vol. 3," by Todd Snider. (Aimless Records via AP)

Todd Snider, "Cash Cabin Sessions, Vol. 3" (Aimless/Thirty Tigers)

The microphone pops when Todd Snider delivers an especially emphatic lyric, and his chair creaks under the weight of his performance. The rustic charm of the setting — Johnny Cash's recording studio in Hendersonville, Tennessee — is audible throughout an album that ranks with Snider's best work.

On "Cash Cabin Sessions, Vol. 3," Snider is clearly inspired by his historic surroundings, and he came armed with marvelous material to enhance the intimate front-porch feel. (The album title is a bit confusing, because there was no Vol. 1 or 2, and the CD jacket sports a photo of Snider holding a single finger aloft.)

The 34-minute set features mostly a one-man band, with occasional backing vocals from Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires. Snider accompanies himself with Cash's Martin guitar, a 12-string guitar, mandolin, harmonica and a four-string banjo that's perfect on "The Blues on Banjo" even though he can barely play it.

As usual, Snider's best instrument is his sharp wit. He sings a song about a song, fondly remembers an Elvis roadie, reflects on the history of TV and addresses our current follies, most pointedly on the closing "A Timeless Response to Current Events."

Snider makes it all as engaging as a visit from a funny friend, a vibe not easily created. According to the excellent liner notes, Snider's breathtaking screed on "The Blues on Banjo" was captured on the first take, but other songs involved up to 40 takes. Polish is sometimes needed to achieve raw beauty, as Johnny Cash well knew.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. does not condone or review every comment. Read more in our Commenter Policy Agreement

  • Keep it clean. Comments that are obscene, vulgar or sexually oriented will be removed. Creative spelling of such terms or implied use of such language is banned, also.
  • Don't threaten to hurt or kill anyone.
  • Be nice. No racism, sexism or any other sort of -ism that degrades another person.
  • Harassing comments. If you are the subject of a harassing comment or personal attack by another user, do not respond in-kind. Use the "Report comment abuse" link below to report offensive comments.
  • Share what you know. Give us your eyewitness accounts, background, observations and history.
  • Do not libel anyone. Libel is writing something false about someone that damages that person's reputation.
  • Ask questions. What more do you want to know about the story?
  • Stay focused. Keep on the story's topic.
  • Help us get it right. If you spot a factual error or misspelling, email or call 1-800-362-6712.
  • Remember, this is our site. We set the rules, and we reserve the right to remove any comments that we deem inappropriate.

Report comment abuse