Merlin Snider is "about as fine a a songwriter and story teller as you're likely to find," wrote "Wildy's World". With a fresh stew of Folk-Blues & Alt-Country, he's been compared to Woody Guthrie, Neil Young, John Prine, Steve Goodman, Randy Newman, and Leonard Cohen. "The genuine article when it comes to wit and humor," says Bob Stane, Host and Producer of the Coffee Gallery Backstage.
Snider's newly released second album, "Right Here," is among the Top Folk Albums of May 2009 and June 2009, as reported on Folkradio.org, the official site of FOLKDJ-L.
Folkworks,org said of "Right Here"that Merlin Snider "has assembled an outstanding group of musicians, authored a tremendous collection of songs, engineered an ultimately pleasurable listening experience and produced an album that will be a "must-have" for connoisseurs of the singer-songwriter, folk genre."
Snider's debut album, "Between," "notable for its skillful guitar work and beautifully spare production" garnered both critical acclaim and radio airplay across the United States and Europe," reported the Pasadena Weekly.
John McLaughlin from ESU Radio Pennsylvania said, “The writing is acute, the playing is sharp. [Between] is high quality across the board.” David Weide, KUNV, Las Vegas, named Snider’s popular song, “Hello Jesus” among Favorites of 2000.
Born in Joliet, Illinois, in 1953, the youngest of five sons, Merlin moved from the Midwest to Southern California with his family at an early age. His father, Allan G. Snider, was a Pentecostal preacher, a Ph.D. in sociology, and a homebuilder in his spare time. Merlin’s mother, Rhoda M. Snider, was an accomplished musician, skilled on piano, organ, and piano accordion. She led the church orchestra and choir and was intent on getting the hands of all five of her sons wrapped around one musical instrument or another at any early age.
Merlin’s early music was rooted in the church. Later it grew into the world beyond, venturing into broader themes both earthy and universally spiritual.
Snider has worked as a painter, carpenter, cabinet maker, teacher, and free lance journalist, and has earned a Ph.D. in Social Ethics from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, (1988). His dissertation was titled, "Morals and Irreligion: Kurt Vonnegut as Social Ethicist." All this education reflected the artist’s interest in values in society and, Snider stubbornly believes, has made him a better songwriter.
The release of Merlin’s 1999 debut album, Between, uncorked on the wider world Snider’s singular writing style, including distinctive melodies and chord arrangements, wry and evocative story-telling, and what the Ventura County Star called “a good amount of wicked humor.”
Folk Roots magazine wrote, “In a world filled with vanity releases of the solo, self-financed variety, it’s a relief to stumble across a songwriter that is a little contrary to ordinary,” and noted songs that provide “evidence of a thoughtful mind at work.”
Now, after an interim of nine years, Merlin’s second album has been released. Says Stephen Jay, Peabody award-winning composer and long time bassist for Weird Al Yankovic, "Right Here" has "Amazing arrangements, I love it. The record bleeds love. The cover reflects a simple and deep sensibility that serves the album well. A great album and a beautiful gift from you to the world."