On Saturday, Todd Snider used his regular quarantine livestream session to pay tribute to his foremost mentor and influence, Jerry Jeff Walker, who died Friday at 78 after a battle with cancer. For more than two hours, Snider told stories of the Texas country legend and played a deep variety of his songs, from his most famous tune “Mr. Bojangles” to classics like “The Stranger (He Was the Kind),” “Charlie Dunn,” and “Leavin’ Texas.”
“What a year we’re having,” an emotional Snider said toward the beginning of the show, which straddled the line between somber and celebratory.
Throughout the performance, Snider shared memories and reflections of the singer born Ronald Clyde Crosby. Snider had spent a great deal of time with Walker throughout his career and narrated his musical history on Saturday.
“Once he decided he’d invented Jerry Jeff Walker, I think he felt pretty open to who that guy could be,” he said. “He traveled all over the country. His favorite place was the Hill Country of Texas, so why wouldn’t the guy he invented be from there?”
“I think my first favorite thing that he ever wrote,” Snider said of his hero, “was his name.”
Near the very end of his emotional journey through Walker’s life and songbook, Snider said, “I hope you’ve enjoyed today — I know that I’ve sort of needed it.” Then he sang Guy Clark’s “Desperados Waiting for a Train,” one of Walker’s signature tunes.