PORTLAND — Todd Snider will perform at 8 p.m. on Sunday, March 24 at Port City Music Hall. About his new album “Agnostic Hymns and Stoner Fables,” Snider said, “This record doesn’t come from good times. I wanted to sound the way I feel, which sometimes means sounding like a broken soul.”

On the 10 new songs, Snider doesn’t talk around the vulnerable part, or the angry part, or the part about how everything we’re taught about goodness and righteousness and capitalism, about God and family values winds up exploding into violence and chaos, wonder and longing. He might carry the mantle of  “storyteller” but “Agnostic Hymns and Stoner Fables” is anything but a nice, folk/Americana troubadour album.

Musically, Snider and co-producer Eric McConnell sought a sound that mirrored the times and that didn’t replicate anything they’d done together. With McConnell on bass and Snider playing guitar and harmonica, they gathered a core band of percussionist Paul Griffith, violinist/vocalist Amanda Shires and keyboard player Chad Staehly along with guest guitarist Jason Isbell and harmony vocalist Mick Utley, and offered up a sonic mission.

The result is something disconcerting, cracked and wholly original. It’s something that stands apart from the music of Snider’s heroes, and from Snider’s own, much-celebrated past. “Agnostic Hymns and Stoner Fables” is Snider’s 12th album and it uses its predecessors not as a compass but as a trampoline. Snider found different song forms, different inspirations and different means of expression. He paints a world where begging turns to mugging, where investment turns to ruin, where babies grow into felons, where honesty is blunt trauma: “Wish I could show you how you hurt me in a way that wouldn’t hurt you, too,” he sings.

Tickets are $18 in advance, $20 day of show, $35 VIP, and can be purchased by phone at 888-512-SHOW and online at www.statetheatreportland.com/. Show is 18 and over. Port City Music Hall is at 504 Congress St., Portland.


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