David Childers is a longtime advocate for the poor who's used his Mount Holly law practice to help people navigate the complicated social security, disability and SSI systems. In his off time, he's written poetry, painted and recorded 15 albums of country, folk and rock music.
Singer-songwriter David Childers is the proverbial study in contradictions. A resident of Mount Holly, North Carolina, he’s a former high-school football player with the aw-shucks demeanor of a good ol’ Southern boy. But he’s also a well-read poet and painter who cites Chaucer and Kerouac as influences, fell in love with folk as a teen, listens to jazz and opera, and fed his family by practicing law before turning in his license to concentrate on his creative passions.
Childers has always regarded his place in the musical pantheon as that of an outsider, though not deservedly so. As those involved with his music indicate, he’s well-regarded among tastemakers. Evidence includes playing the syndicated World Café and Mountain Stage radio shows (he’s done the latter twice), as well as Merlefest’s mainstage. He’s also toured in Europe, and hopes to again. But he credits the support of family and friends with helping him sustain his musical career — which began in college, though he didn’t start recording until the ’90s.
Childers’ latest album, Run Skeleton Run, released May 5, 2017 on Ramseur Records, is filled with the kinds of songs that have made him a favorite of fans and fellow artists including neighbors the Avett Brothers. Scott Avett contributes to four tracks, and Avetts bassist Bob Crawford co-executive-produced the effort with label head Dolph Ramseur. (Crawford and Childers, both history buffs, have recorded and performed together in the Overmountain Men).
In fact, it was Crawford who kickstarted this album, Childers’ sixth solo effort, by suggesting he reunite with Don Dixon (R.E.M., the Smithereens), who’d produced Crawford’s favorite Childers album, Room 23 (done with his band the Modern Don Juans). Crawford also suggested tracking at Mitch Easter’s Fidelitorium Recordings.
Crawford has also called Childers “a great friend, a great thinker and a great man … a true North Carolina treasure.” But let’s take out “North Carolina,” because Childers is the kind of treasure who can spread joy wherever people love listening to great songs. In other words, just about anywhere. Or everywhere.
Childers will be joined by Korey Dudley on bass and David Niblock on acoustic guitar.