the grand shell game
we are all a part of the grand shell game. these are just some players. historians. scribes, if not for our age, then at least for their times. they sing songs of love and loss, of failure and resulting growth, of conflict and resolution, and conflicting resolutions. often borrowing textures from the past, they blend diverse elements of style into a different sort of sound that speaks to a new future. with playful and dynamic accounting, rocking in a waltz and swaying as they roll, there is a strange power in their arrangements. and while the band is made up of extraordinarily talented musicians, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. each player is firmly rooted in the structure of the song, and their individual opportunities to shine reflect the love they share for music, for life, for each other. the result is a timeless sound, a band's band, and one hell of a surprising show. this is a group not to be missed. this is the sound of the grand shell game.
David Childers is a musician, poet, historian, painter, father and champion of people who get tangled up in the bureaucratic legal system; he specializes in helping people navigate the maze of the Social Security system to obtain their benefits.
He grew up in the cotton mill country of North Carolina and started playing banjo when he was 14. “I didn’t have the confidence to be a musician,” he says. “I sang in the church choir so I could get close to the good looking girls I knew.” He started playing guitar in college, but he was a 37-year-old practicing lawyer before he got serious about his songwriting. His first album, Godzilla! He Done Broke Out!, was released in 1994. It marked the beginning of 13 years of relentless touring, while working 60 hours a week as a lawyer.
He made nine more albums before he burned out and stopped performing in 2007. “I ran into a brick wall, burned out from the touring, drinking, staying out late and my work schedule.” Childers sat in a chair for a few months before having a spiritual awakening. “I wanted to investigate God. I dove into the Quran, but I grew up with the Bible and began reading. It helped me understand the spiritual consequences of the things I was doing. I became happier and more at peace. Now, I try to set an example with my life and be decent to other people.”
He started playing music again in 2010, recording two albums, Glorious Day (2010) and Next Best Thing (2013) with the Overmountain Men, a band that Avett Brother bassist Bob Crawford – a huge fan and close friend of Childers’ — helped produce. “David is the most prolific North Carolina songwriter alive,” Crawford said. “Everywhere I go, people ask about him. It’s great to see people constantly discovering this man and his massive body of work.”