Film and Q&A Review: East Nashville Tonight

Words / Photo / Video: @WeirScrewed


On a cold and sunny Sunday afternoon following a spectacular Hard Working Americans show, Todd Snider fans packed the City Winery to watch the documentary East Nashville Tonight, directed by Todd Barnes and his brother Brad. In addition to screening the film, fans were enticed with a Q&A with Snider and Todd Barnes following the viewing.

The roughly 90 minute documentary chronicles a short period in the lives of Snider and his collection of friends in East Nashville including Tim Carroll, Chuck Mead, Paul Griffith, and singer-songwriter-actress-aspiring-talk-show-hostess Elizabeth Cook (Chicago fans may remember her as the opener at Snider’s 11/11/11 appearance at Park West). Yonder Mountain String Band fans will enjoy a brief appearance by Jeff Austin that chronicles a fungal-influenced convertible ride and the jamming that ensued.

There's charm in the story, but the real takeaway from this film is the soundtrack. It chronicles the impromptu jams that arise at the card table of the Purple Pig, a clubhouse of sorts, where the movie’s principals gather to play songs, drink whiskey, deal some cards, and toke on ‘The Devil’s Dick".

The loose structure of the story follows Elizabeth Cook’s attempt to get a talk show pilot made with the help of her pal Snider. They put together a talk show on the grounds of the Purple Pig featuring some local denizens and provide Cook with her chance to perform.

The Q & A that followed showed a side of Snider we don’t always get to see while he is performing onstage. He honestly answered questions about his future plans with Hard Working Americans (reporting that they stayed in Chicago following the Park West show to record to for the next week at I.V. Labs studio) that includes ideally touring next year.

The band plasn to record some original material and this appears to an ongoing endeavor. He also spoke about how not having to play guitar with the band is a liberating thing for him, as he suffers from degenerative arthritis which impacts his ability to play and travel. A tense exchange with a fan about missing the Camayo cruise festival led to a discussion about what he feels he ‘owes’ fans as an explanation for missed gigs, etc.

After taking some questions, Snider went into the crowd to mingle with fans and interact with those who wanted to thank him for sharing his talents or remind him of a time when their paths crossed. The room at the Winery was the perfect setting for this type of event.  Here's a great clip discussing HWA -- a trailer for the film follows.

East Nashville Tonight trailer from Todd Barnes on Vimeo.

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