Authentic Country Music: by Lloyd Snow
Down East Boy
Two Timing To a Two Step
Drunken Country Bum
I'd Just Be a Stranger
Here Comes The Sunshine
"Brand New Mr. Me" Mel Tillis took this to number eight on the charts in 1971. Lloyd Snow's version is even better than Mel's. Lloyd slowed it down a bit, m
Country Music Still Lives On
(click a song to read & listen at the same time)
by Bill Russo
Lloyd Snow is a country singer known as the “King of the Malls”. If he had done things a little differently, he might have been heralded as the “King of the Road”.
“Years ago I went to Nashville and made a record,” Lloyd told me in a recent interview. “They wanted to sign me to a three year deal and send me to Australia and Europe. I had a young family and I didn’t want to go that far away from home. If they had said the U.S., I probably would have done it.”
Country Music was so big in Europe that it was a great temptation, but finally, the young singer from Newfoundland refused the offer of a Nashville recording deal and an international tour.
In turning down the offer, Lloyd Snow probably destroyed his chance for international fame and stardom; and it's sad because he’s got the chops to be a major country star. His voice is like a musical salad with little chunks of Conway Twitty, sprinkles of George Jones, a dash of Hank Williams, a few slices of Hank Snow, and a smattering of Randy Travis.
He is no imitator; he’s got his own distinct style, but if you listen to enough of his music you will feel his connection to the all time greats. Besides being a top vocalist and guitar player, he writes many of his own tunes.
Instead of playing London, Los Angeles, Nashville, and Branson, Lloyd settled in to making music in Atlantic Canada. He’s produced close to 20 albums and is known as the “King of the Malls” because a couple days every week he will go to places that sell music and perform live. He does some songs, chats with the fans and sells his own CDs. His music is also sold in a number of stores in Canada as well as online.
“I’ve made a living at music for a long time,” Lloyd said. Reflecting on his choice not to tour for the Nashville music company, he said. ““Looking back, I do regret not doing it. Because after you come back from one of those long promotions, you’ve got a fan base built up.”
It’s been hard for Lloyd to build up a fan base from a relatively small province like Newfoundland. Still, he has the number one all time best selling album and song in Eastern Canada. His “Down East Boy” is a staple of his shows and though it was written and recorded in 1984 is still the record holder for album and CD sales in Newfoundland. There are a few YouTube videos of the song - one of which has had over 120,000 views. It’s Lloyd’s signature song and his biggest hit. The song is well worth a listen as it evokes the spirit of people like Dave Loggins and Rod McKuen.
(Update by Bill Russo: When I did the interview with Lloyd at the end of 2013, Down East Boy on Youtube had 120,000 views as I mentioned above. As 2016 began, that number had more than doubled to over 254,000 ! !! !!! By August of 2017, there were almost 400,000 YouTube views!!!!!!!!!! Clearly, a lot of people like the music of Lloyd Snow.)
There are probably a hundred or more of Lloyd’s songs uploaded to YouTube. Many are originals, but there are a few covers. Moe Bandy’s old classic “What Makes the Jukebox Play”, is given a new shine by Lloyd.
He also has a top version of Hank Williams', “Teardrop on a Rose”. It’s been viewed over 20,000 times since it was uploaded. As you might expect, Hank’s version has more hits, but Lloyd’s is holding its own.
A while back he recorded a catchy song called “Two Timing To A Two Step”, written by Don Peters of Caribou, Maine. The song has all the ear marks of a country hit but the pre-programmed robotic country stations would not spin it.
“I couldn’t even get them to play it in my home town,” Don Peters said. “The station claims all their music is programmed in California!”.
In Canada, Galaxie radio played it and they play other Lloyd Snow songs as well. Galaxie is like Comcast in the U.S. They have various music channels and a huge subscriber base.
Lloyd is one of Canada’s busiest musicians, playing two to three nights per week, plus he still plays in, and sells his music in, stores such as Sobey’s in Eastern Canada and Target.
If you have a venue and would like to book Lloyd…contact him way ahead of time because Lloyd often is fully booked. . He plays shows in clubs, civic centers and festivals. Sometimes Lloyd plays to crowds of several thousand. For club dates and civic centers, he has filled up over 1200 seats. He's also played much smaller more intimate venues. And of course, if you pick the right mall at the right time; the King of the Malls will play just for you!!!!!!!!!!
The Show Must go On
Lloyd keeps up his busy schedule and has not slowed down one bit, even though he has celebrated 59 birthdays and has suffered one heart attack
At the time I interviewed Lloyd, it had been less than two months since his heart problem. But he barely missed a beat. Here's what he told me in our talk in late 2013.
“I had a heart attack seven weeks ago,” Lloyd explained. “I had a show to do the next night after the attack. So I was hoping they’d let me out of the hospital in time for me to get to the venue. If they had let me out in the morning I could have made the show, but they kept me in till later. I did get to the next show though---so I only missed one. I have no health restrictions. I do not smoke or drink, so the doctors said to just keep doing what I have been doing”.
Besides his gigs and mall performances, he’s also authored the 'Lloyd Snow Songbook'. Published by Musicplus of Carbonear, Newfoundland. It contains many of Lloyd’s songs with lyrics as well as guitar chords.
Among the stores that sell Lloyd's music is the fabled O'Brien's Music in Downtown St. Johns.
(2016 Update: O'Brien's was closed for a time, but has been reopened by Dave Rowe, a musician and member of the family. The website is back up and running but at the moment there is no on line purchasing. The website indicates that they hope to get that business back up and running soon.)
Lloyd's current CD is titled “My Best to You” and it has 12 classic hits, including a fabulous take on the late George Jones‘ ‘a Good Year for the Roses‘.
A Newfoundland studio is where Lloyd cuts all his tracks. Lloyd says that the studio has state of the art equipment that pretty much matches exactly what they use in Nashville.
He has made 18 albums so far in his career, with his first one coming out in 1984. About half of his albums featured new songs (many penned by Lloyd himself) and the others were Lloyd’s take on top country hits. He never tries to copy the other artists but puts his own brand on whatever song he sings.
Lloyd uses the best session men available, but always has the same Dobro and Piano players.
His piano player, Junior Reid also doubles in brass, playing a fine Mariachi style trumpet. He can be heard on Lloyd’s bouncy tex-mex offering called “Carmelita”.
Lloyd was born in a small town near St. Johns, Newfoundland. St. Johns is the largest city in Canada’s easternmost province, which uses Atlantic time, one hour ahead of Boston, New York and Toronto
I asked Lloyd how he got started:
“As a teenager I did some singing and people said I was pretty good at it. I joined a band and one of the guys said, 'you gotta play guitar'. I never had played. So I got a hold of an electric Silvertone from Sears and learned a couple chords and started singing with the group and I have been singing and making a living at it for 33 years“.
Then I asked him a question that he has heard a thousand times: “are you related to another great Canadian singer, Hank Snow?”
Hank had dozens of hits on the charts from the 1940s to the 80s, including seven number one hits. His best known pieces are “I’m Movin’ On”, “Hello Love”, and “I’ve Been Everywhere”.
“No, I am probably not directly related to Hank,” Lloyd told me. “He was born in Nova Scotia and I come from a small town in Newfoundland near St. Johns. But somebody did tell me that Hank Snow’s family originally came from Newfoundland, so we may be related after all“.
“I was invited to one of Hank’s birthday parties. I think it was his 82nd back in the 1990s but I couldn’t make it. After he passed on his crew called me
and asked me to do a few tribute albums.”
Lloyd has not gotten around to making those CDs yet but could do so in the future. He’s also been often invited to play some of the Hank Snow tribute shows in Nova Scotia.
Now take a Few Minutes to Listen to some Real Country Music:
Scroll back up to the top of the article and click on a song. Start with "Down East Boy". Continue on and you will hear some great country music performed the way Country is supposed to be sung. Be sure to listen to "Two Timing to a Two Step" as well as one designed especially for lovers of traditional C & W, "Country Music Still Lives On".
Courtesy of YouTube, These are some great examples of Lloyd’s work:
Down East Boy is Lloyd’s bread and butter song. It’s nostalgic, melodic and just downright pleasant to listen to.
Two Timing To a Two Step is a non stop rousing good ol’ country tune that deserves more exposure. It was written by Don Peters of Caribou, Maine who’s also supplied Lloyd with a few other songs.
Drunken Country Bum: Lloyd wrote this poignant song after working with a veteran singer who had seen much better days. A young man approached Lloyd’s friend and he told him how much he admired his singing and the youth added that his father also had always respected him.
“How could anybody respect me?”, the man asked, “I am a drunken country bum!”
Lloyd went home that night and wrote “Drunken Country Bum” as a tribute to his pal, who passed away just a few weeks later.
Carmelita…the brass is supplied by Lloyd's piano player, Junior Reid who also owns his own music store. You can Google his store's website. It's 'Reid Music Ltd.'
Listen to them all....they are all good. Don't miss Lloyd's take on Country Music Still Lives On.
Now in Book Form - More than a Dozen Legends of Music
Llyod Snow's inspiring story is one chapter of the new book by Bill Russo, "Crossing the Musical Color Line and other Adventures of Singers and Players." In 134 pages , the reader gets to meet some of the greatest figures in music. Some are famous while others never achieved great commercial success but all have fascinating back stories. Some of the artists were friends of the author, such as the first man to break the color line in a big band in the 1940s. There are more than a dozen narratives in the book, which is just 99 cents. It's available in the Kindle Store for 99 cents. http://www.amazon.com/dp/ B00PJQQHSO