Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Plant Kingdom: Keep Off the Grass

Todd Snider: Keep Off the Grass


Todd Snider: Keep Off the Grass (live in Boston)

I know we already have a post about grass, but I can't come up with anything else. Plus, grass is so vital to everyday life. It covers our yards and public parks, it covers our sports fields, there's even fake grass for indoor sports, we complain about mowing it yet we spend hours making it look perfect. Is there any better feeling than walking on freshly mowed grass with bare feet?

However, there is nothing worse than when THE MAN tells you to keep off the grass. How often do you want to lie down in the sun on a blanket in a park on a beautiful weekend afternoon, but THE MAN has posted a "Keep Off the Grass" sign on a perfectly good piece of lawn. Now, they may have just chemically treated the grass, or they want people to keep their dogs from relieving themselves on it, but most of the time you cannot figure out why THE MAN wants you to keep off the grass.

In this song from Todd Snider's 2000 album Happy to Be Here, Snider laments being told what to do by everyone. He's trying to be his own man, but people keep giving him a list of things he can or can't do, including keep off the grass. If you know anything about Snider's writing, "Keep off the Grass" is probably also a double entendre for "Keep off the Marijuana." But hey, marijuana is a plant too!

I included a live version of this song from a gig in Boston last year. Snider and his people are forward thinking enough to record his shows and offer them as a download a week or so later for $5 per pass code. I go to a lot of shows (2-3 a month), and so far Snider is the only artist I have seen offer this service. This version is particularly fun as he talks about his early songwriting career and his attempts to emulate Bob Dylan.

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