Todd Snider delivers another dish of country fried good times on his eighth full-length studio album, The Excitement Plan. Fans of Snider’s will find the “barefoot troubadour” in fine form, producing 12 top-notch tunes to keep your toes tapping and your ears stumbling after every line. The styles on the disc are varied, and the instrumentation finds piano, slide steel, mouth-harp and simple guitar picking taking centre stage from one song to the next.
Early highlight “America’s Favorite Past-time” is a hilarious, true Major League Baseball ballad about Pittsburg Pirate Dock Ellis, who threw a no-hitter in 1970 against the San Diego Padres while out of his mind on LSD (I knew you could do anything on acid!). “Corpus Christi Bay,” which sounds like a world-weary Jimmy Buffet number, is a touching tune about brotherly love and the oil-rigs, and the upbeat war-tune “Bring ‘Em Home” is sure to get someone up and dancing.
While the disc comes out of the gate strong, by the end of the second half the energy starts to lag, though the cheeky duet “Don’t Tempt Me” and the tongue-in-cheek “Money, Compliments, Publicity” keep Side B from being anything close to a complete let-down. All around, a worthwhile spin, and one any fan of fine alt-country word-smithery will appreciate.