As True as You Can Be

Ed Snodderly | Photo by Sandlin Gaither

Ed Snodderly’s lyrics and sound speak to our roots in East Tennessee 

Growing up, Ed Snodderly spent a lot of time in the countryside of East Tennessee. His grandfather, who owned a general store in Piedmont, would become an early inspiration for his interest in music. “He was an old time fiddle player with his brother Silas,” Ed says. “They played a lot of festivals and fiddler conventions and would win ribbons.” 

Ed was 12 when he picked up his first guitar, a no-name, three-string version found in his family’s attic. He quickly found a connection to the music. “That’s when my dad said, ‘We need to sit down at the kitchen table a minute.’ And we did,” Ed recalls. “He held that guitar and he played G, C, and D; then he handed it back to me and said, ‘You’ve got to learn those three chords, and you’ve got to be learning where you can change really quick, before you can even think about a different guitar.”

Guitar became his life after that pivotal moment. He knew that his future rested in music. So he got to learning, rock-and-roll at first, and then “old time music,” thanks to family reunions. The range gave him a deeper appreciation for his craft that would eventually translate into songwriting. “A lot of my lyrics, a lot of my songs are very sense of place,” Ed says. “I write a lot about my memory of things.” The lyrics to one of those such songs, “The Diamond Stream,” can be found in the Hall of Honor at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville.

Ed co-founded the Down Home in Johnson City back in 1976, whose stage has seen the likes of many now-famous artists, such as Kenny Chesney and the Dixie Chicks. He says it’s a place for people to listen to and showcase their best. His part in its founding was just one of the reasons he earned the Lifetime Achievement award from the Southern Region of Folk Alliance back in 2020.

Ed’s album Chimney Smoke came out this summer, a collection of his best songs, he says, a “fairly southern kind of offering.” Visit to listen.

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