The Todd Snider "Peace Queer" rave

This is truly a special week for all fans of great music. I mean, how often do you get treated to new albums from the likes of Bob Dylan, Todd Snider, and Lucinda Williams, all within a few short days? We're talking about new albums from three of my all-time favorite artists - all within an eight-day span. It doesn't get much better than that.

First, on Tuesday (October 7), came Dylan's amazing Tell Tale Signs: The Bootleg Series Vol. 8: Rare and Unreleased 1989-2006 (read my rave review here). And then next Tuesday (October 14th) will see the release of Lucinda William's new album, Little Honey, and the word is it's another beauty. Meanwhile, today (October 11), to bridge the gap between the other two, we've been handed the gift of Peace Queer by Todd Snider.

And when I say "gift" I mean it quite literally. It's Todd's 42nd birthday today and to celebrate he's giving away Peace Queer as a free download. You can download it from his website here (from October 11 until the end of the month).

Featuring 8 short songs that total a mere 25 minutes in length, Peace Queer is more of an EP than a full album and as a result it can't really be measured against his outstanding recent releases and particularly not his masterpiece, East Nashville Skyline (2004), nor its fantastic follow-up, The Devil You Know (2006). Nor, for that matter, his previous two gems: Happy To Be Here (2000) and New Connection (2002).

It may not be up to the standard of those four albums, but the subtle wit, great songwriting chops, and catchy tunes are all here as usual. It's a must-own album for three songs alone: "Mission Accomplished", yes, about that guy; "The Ballad of Cape Henry", a beautiful acoustic tale about a battle in the American War of Independence; and "Stuck On The Corner", a rather timely barnburner of a rocker about trying to keep up with the Joneses as everything starts to fall apart.

The whole album is great, however, even if it's way too short. And since it's free, I'd say it's really a no-brainer when it comes to whether or not you should get it.

If you've never heard any of Todd Snider's music before, this is a good chance to check it out. We're talking about one of the great artists and greatest songwriters working today. He may not be as well known as Bob and Lucinda, but he certainly should be.

Just three more days now till the new Lucinda comes out and the week of joy will be complete. And with scheduled releases from Kanye West and John Legend coming out soon, it's sure looking like a fall to remember. The world financial system may be crumbling, but at least we've got great new music to keep us going.

Now, I just hope thatTodd Snider comes through town again on his current tour, as his show earlier this year was absolutely fantastic. It even featured a bizarre post-show streaker of some notoriety (read my review of the show and post-show here).

Mike Cowie is a writer currently embarked on a book about his three-year trip across Asia with his wife, Sonoko. Read more of Mike’s views on his Web site.