David Childers – Can he get a witness:
David Childers has always been a true believer, throwing himself into his music with such fire-and-brimstone gusto that broken guitar strings and sweat-heavy clothing are de rigeur. Childers walks and pounces around the stage like the bear he is, squeezing the honey out of his voice and songs with beautiful abandon.
He is a songwriter and a Bible-reader and a lawyer. He doesn’t pre-judge, in his practice, his tastes, or his songs. His work and his songs are intertwined, which means everything and nothing at all, to hear him tell it.
A Good Way To Die, his new disc on Singlewing Records, was co-produced by his son and drummer Robert, with assistance from noted Nashville musician Duane Jarvis. Eight of its 21 tracks are instrumentals. Songs such as the title track and “Possibility” are given an exotic touch by Eric Lovell, who adds sitar, mandolin, and other nontraditional flavors to Childers’ meat-and-potatoes visceral realism.
Childers’ fervor is given additional fire by a love of Christian and other symbolic mythology, but his songs avoid preaching. They’re more like parables, maxims that may seem simplistic at first but contain enough shadow and storm to assure he’s not just getting by on a stairstep of well-placed cliches.
“I go through spells where I read the Bible every day,” says Childers. “Then I fall off. I love the Bible. It is the coolest book I’ve ever read. Wisdom and hope and truth and great stories which are so real and brutal and true today. I don’t go to church. I think churches are snakes pits of prejudice and idol worship; where God gets lost in egoism and greed. I don’t think God is church.”
A lawyer by trade, Childers’ chosen line of work inevitably is referenced in discussions of his music — much to his chagrin. “I am very sick of the lawyer thing being mentioned in connection with my music,” he says. “It immediately downgrades what I do and gives people the impression that it’s just a hobby: ‘Oh, he’s pretty good for a lawyer’; or mostly, ‘How could he be any good if he’s a lawyer too?’
The novelty seems to have worn off in some circles, at least. “Most people where I work don’t make a big deal about it anymore because I don’t,” he says. “I really try to change the subject and go on to something else when in the judicial context. They just don’t mix, although many of my story ideas come from my work.”
On the other hand, he says, “I get just as many ideas from my own life, and the lives of friends, historical figures, dreams, memories and imagination.
“The stories I have heard from clients over the years have certainly turned up in songs,” he admits, then adds with a laugh: “But all songs can’t be about killing somebody, you know?”