Posted on Jan.29, 2017
Throughout his 20-year career as a singer, songwriter and bandleader, Childers has written about the tension between secular and religious impulses. His albums have always included songs of wild hedonism and uplifting faith but, as his new album, Serpents of Reformation,evolved, he found himself drawn to themes of salvation and repentance. “I wrote a few new gospel-type songs and the music took on a life of its own. The songs all look at the forgiveness that’s at the heart of Christian philosophy, even though you don’t see a lot (of forgiveness) in the world today.”
Childers usually tracks his records live, with minimal overdubs. This time, he let his son Robert and co-producer Neal Harper control the creative process. “I didn’t set out to make a gospel album,” David Childers says, “I wanted to make a hip-hop record. I’d been listening to a lot of the stuff RL Burnside recorded late in his career. He had a lot of hip hop beats and electronic rhythms in the background. I told my son Robert, who knows a lot about recording technology that I wanted to do a record like that. We started by recording ‘Life of Jesus,’ a song I did with The Gospel Playboys in the 90s, and took off from there.
I first saw David Childers perform on a hot, humid night in July 2000 at the legendary Double Door Inn in Charlotte, NC. Most of the songs he performed that evening were filled with the subject matter of Jesus, damnation, salvation, the devil, forgiveness, and redemption. I will never, ever forget it. It was such an inspiration that the next day I wrote David a personal letter asking him if we could make a record together about those things in which he was singing about. We have been friends ever since. No record or manager contract. Just a handshake.
It is my hope David’s greatness as a songwriter and artist will be recognized and appreciated by many in years to come. Please lend an ear to his latest release, ‘Serpents of Reformation,’ and experience for yourself the same power that moved me so, that mesmerizing Summer night some fourteen years ago. — Dolph Ramseur
“David is the most prolific North Carolina songwriter alive. Everywhere I go people ask about him. It is great to see people constantly discovering this man and his massive body of work.” – Bob Crawford of The Avett Brothers