REVIEW: Ed Snodderly & The Shoestring Seven “Chimney Smoke”


Ed Snodderly & The Shoestring Seven – Chimney Smoke

Anyone who enjoys Hot Tuna or the solo work of Jorma Kaukonen will certainly find comfort with this masterful 12 cut rootsy Ed Snodderly & the Shoestring Seven collection. Out of the gate with “Better Just Ride The Mule,” – it’s engaging, satisfying & downright…fun.

Ed Snodderly

Ed (acoustic guitar/1932 Gibson L-00/1936 Martin 00-18H & piano) has the right vocal tone for such tales. Authenticity first, entertainment’s a bonus. “Gone With Gone And Long Time,” is a beautifully rendered tune & it’s well-arranged & presented. Really good. Really.

The CD package is attractive & includes a stitched lyric book with color pictures. But it’s the guitar playing & sound that captivates. Tugs on the style of The Band in its finest rural moments. But with all the excellent playing it’s the warmth, sincerity & exemplary vocals of Ed that carries it all.

This 10th LP by Tennessee-born Ed was produced by R.S. Field (vocals) & recorded in Nashville. These are all as tasty as a big carton of malt balls on a hot summer day with a cold lemonade. Chimney Smoke (Drops July 21–Singular/Majestic Records) is just that – every song has flavor & an economy of flash. The picking even to this New York City boy is bliss. The lyrics & melodies have a distinguished finesse.

The songs don’t sound as if they were written in one long sit-down. They sound individually perfect. Ed must have written them with a generous amount of time between each. Nothing sounds redundant – they’re like having 12 children from the same mother yet, each totally different.

Though the songs have a Southern tilt & they’re warm, they’re never humid. There’s a coolness that runs through the lines & most importantly how Ed sings them – a suggestion of Bob Dylan intonation in the final lines of “There You Are,” is a nice touch.

Several veteran name artists lend a hand in this first-class effort. For me & my Seventh Avenue dirty water dog with mustard, this music keeps me sane & reminds me that there are parts of this country that aren’t miles of concrete, steel & traffic. Ed is as good as Willie Nelson in his showcase. “Just Like You River,” is a minor masterpiece & it’s like a follow-up to Roger Miller’s classic “River In the Rain,” which was marvelous.

This is one of the year’s best albums.

Highlights – All songs are excellent. That’s right — all.

Musicians – Shawn Camp (mandolin/vocal), Steve Conn (piano/accordion/organ), John Gardner (percussion), Steve Hinson (pedal steel/slide lap guitar), Chris Scruggs (electric & upright bass), Gary J Smith (upright bass), Kenny Vaughan (electric guitar/1959 Harmony Meteor, Fender Esquire w/Glaser B-Bender, 1965 Vox Cambridge Reverb Amp & Martin HD-28) with vocals by Amythyst Kiah, Maura O’Connell, Gretchen Peters, Malcolm Holcombe, Eugene Wolf & Chris Carmichael (orchestrations).

Color image courtesy of James Demain. CD @

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