Todd Day Wait has traveled the world showcasing his talent. He’s performed at the Umbria Jazz Festival in Italy, toured through Germany picking his guitar, and traveled the United States in a repurposed airport shuttle bus when he decided to make music his career, but one of his favorite places in the world is still Cooper’s Landing on the Missouri River.

You can catch a glimpse of him playing with the river as a backdrop on a western music YouTube channel. He has also been featured on GemsOnVHS with his video receiving more than one-hundred-thousand views.

“I like the Missouri River,” Todd says. “I think Missouri in particular is a really cool state. Everywhere I go, I tell people how cool Missouri is.”

Perhaps it’s the breathtaking views of the Big Muddy that draw him back, but it’s more likely the fact that this is one of the first places he started performing his original songs. Todd is a Columbia native who has been playing music for more than twenty-five years.

“I was playing music nonprofessionally just part-time working, part-time playing music over the greater Midwest area, and in 2009, I decided I wanted to do it full time,” he says. “I emptied my house, put everything on the curb, and got in my van and headed west and toured around for four or five years.”

He writes about love and loss and everything in between. His deep voice has a country twang, and when he belts out his lyrics, a couple of yodels come through. You won’t ever catch him performing without his guitar. He draws inspiration from some of his favorite artists, such as George Jones, Jimmie Rodgers, and Wynn Stewart, another Missouri native.

When he’s not performing solo, he calls his backing band Todd Day Wait’s Pigpen, which is composed of various musicians who join him from around the world. If he’s performing in New Orleans, he finds musicians from New Orleans; if he’s performing in Nashville, he works with musicians in Nashville, and so on.

“I’m lucky and blessed that it all worked out, and now I can do it and go overseas and do the same thing I was doing here,” Todd says. “It’s fun playing and entertaining people, and if you can make a living out of it, that’s a pretty good deal.”

In 2020, he was set to embark on a world tour, but the pandemic put his plans on hold, so he’s back in Columbia for the time being. To keep himself busy, he’s been performing live-stream concerts on his YouTube channel every Sunday. He performs a mix of covers and originals. He usually has one or two musical guests from around the world send in a video, too. At the end of the live-stream, there’s a discussion board where viewers can ask questions.

This year, Todd plans to release a new full-length album with ten songs. In the meantime, his limited edition 45 record that features “Who’s to Blame” and “Heart Over Mind” is available in both digital and physical format on his website The release date and tour for his new album are still to be determined, but for now, he’s perfectly content spending some time in the Show-Me State.

“Missouri is one of my favorite places in the world,” Todd says. “There’s a lot of things we have here that other places don’t.”

Photo // Mike Vanata/Western AF