Jon Snodgrass is quite possibly the hardest working man in punk rock—even if his songs have morphed closer to Americana over the past decade or so. He may have put off doing another solo record for a while, but that was just to focus on Drag The River, Scorpios a duets album with Frank Turner, and raising a family.
But Tace, his latest collaboration with a slew of old friends, is quite possibly his best effort yet, and that’s saying a lot when you go through his decades of work. Spread across a dozen tracks, Snodgrass manages to excise influences as diverse as Kris Kristofferson to The Replacements.
The album kicks off with the Joey Cape collaboration “Renaissance Man” followed by “Bad New Lands,” a track where he shares the mic with Stacey Dee (Bad Cop/Bad Cop) on a track about wishing a bad day on someone who wronged his family (in quite possibly the most midwestern, ‘we don’t want to be too harsh’ way possible, hoping he gets a flat tire in the middle of a snowstorm).
What follows is song after song that feels like a Best Of album, with each track sounding as great as the one before it. He peppers the record with more guests, folks like John Moreland, Tim McIlrath (Rise Against), Stephen Egerton (Descendents, ALL), and Derek Zanetti (The Homeless Gospel Choir).
The lyrics are witty, and there are plenty of hooks, all hallmarks of a Snodgrass record, but he also mixes in his non-musical passions as well, especially baseball and his family and nowhere is this more prominent than on “Go Baseball,” a track featuring (and written by) his son.
Admittedly, it’s weird to use a term like endearing to describe an album by someone who is rooted so firmly in the punk world, but Tace is so unconditionally tethered to everything important to Snodgrass: music (both loud and soft/fast and slow), baseball, his family and friends, that it’s a perfect descriptor for this album.