Singer-songwriter Todd Snider was born Oct. 11, 1966, in Portland, Ore., and lived there until his family moved to Houston. When he was 15, he ran away from home with a friend and went back to Portland. After high school, he moved to Santa Rosa, Calif., to be a harmonica player. Then his brother, who lived in Austin, Texas, bought him a ticket to move there. After seeing Jerry Jeff Walker in a local bar, Snider decided that he didn't need a band to be a musician.
After moving to Memphis in the mid-1980s and establishing residency at a club named the Daily Planet, he was discovered by Keith Sykes, a member of Jimmy Buffett's Coral Reefer Band. A longtime acquaintance of John Prine and Walker, Sykes began to work with Snider to help advance his career. Prine hired him as an assistant and then invited him to open shows. In time, Buffett heard Snider's demo tapes and signed him to his own label. Snider is a opinionated musician whose fans know him to be quite the workhorse. On his music, Snider has said "I was just trying to come up with the best... most open hearted ... well-thought-out lyrics I could come up with. I wanted every song to be sad and funny at the same time, vulnerable and entertaining at the same time, personal and universal at the same time. I wanted every song to be as uniquely written as possible and then I wanted to perform them in a studio loose and rugged and hopefully as uniquely as I could. My hope is to be hard to describe and/or new…I'm not saying I am. I'm just saying that's the hope
Snider's 1994 debut album on MCA, entitled Songs for the Daily Planet, was named for the bar where Snider used to play regularly in Memphis. On that album were the minor hits "Talkin' Seattle Grunge Rock Blues"—a folk song about the early '90's grunge scene, featuring a band that "refused to play" —and "Alright Guy," which later became the title cut of Gary Allan's 2001 album.
He released two more albums for MCA, Step Right Up and Viva Satellite before moving to John Prine's Oh Boy Records where he made Happy to Be Here, New Connection, Near Truths and Hotel Rooms, East Nashville Skyline, and Peace Love and Anarchy. That Was Me: The Best of Todd Snider 1994–1998 was released on the Hip-O Records label in August 2005.
Snider's next studio album, The Devil You Know, was released in August 2006. It marked his return to a major label, New Door Records, a subsidiary of Universal Records. The Devil You Know was named to several critics' year-end "best" lists, including a #33 ranking in Rolling Stone magazine's top 50 albums of the year, a #25 ranking by No Depression magazine, and #14 by Blender magazine.
Snider's album, Peace Queer, was released on October 14, 2008 and reached #1 on the Americana Airplay Chart on October 27, 2008. His album, The Excitement Plan, was released on June 9, 2009 on the YepRoc Label and was produced by Don Was.
In February 2011 Todd Snider released a double disc live album called "The Storyteller" on his own record label Aimless Records. The album features live versions of songs spanning much of Snider's career along with some of the stories that have become a staple of his live show