Singer-songwriter David Childers is a well-read poet and painter who practiced law before turning in his license to concentrate on his passions, including music. Childers’ new album, Run Skeleton Run, co-produced with the Avett Brothers bassist Bob Crawford and Ramseur label head Dolph Ramseur, is filled with story songs that captivate with their vivid imagery. Calling from his home in North Carolina, Childers kindly took some time to speak about the album and more.
You have released numerous albums over the years. Did you approach Run Skeleton Run any differently from the others?
I’ve made many records, but the approach to this record was different from anything I have been involved in. There was an intensity with going to one place and staying there to make the entire record. I worked with Don Dixon [REM, the Smithereens] once before and getting to do it again was such a good experience. Having Dixon’s hands on my record is something I felt good about.
In addition to Don Dixon, Bob Crawford had a hand in making the record. How did he come to be a part of the project?
Bob was one person who really encouraged me to keep working on my music when I was at a low point deciding whether or not I wanted to do it anymore. He and I were both a part of the music scene in Charlotte in the 90’s when the Avett Brothers were coming along. In fact, the Avetts opened for my band before they were playing the huge theaters they play now. They really changed the music scene around here and I am just so happy for them.
One thing I am always interested in is why artists choose to title their albums they way they do. So, what is the significance of Run Skeleton Run?
I don’t know, to be honest. For me, these things aren’t analytically derived, they’re viscerally derived - it’s a gut feeling. That song was the track that stood out to me after everything was completed and what sounded the best when we were deciding on a title.
"Radio Moscow" and "Manila" are two of my favorites, would you choose one and tell the story behind the song?
I can tell you about both. “Radio Moscow” is a song where I reflect on my youth. I remember sitting and listening to the short-wave radio when I was younger and just feeling alienated. I had a roof and food, but I was looking elsewhere for a better life than I felt like I was living then – and I didn’t realize how lucky I was.
“Manila” is about this hometown guy who goes to Vietnam and comes back with PTSD. He comes home and we are out driving around as he is telling me about his favorite place, Manila, and all he has been through from battles to whorehouses.
As someone who likes to read, do you find you gather as much influence and inspiration from poets and authors as other musicians?
Yes, of course, I get inspirations in many forms. I read a lot of poetry, but I probably don’t do it as much now as I did when I was younger. I’m almost 66 years-old and I feel like I have found my own unique voice, but it took me years to get there. How original it is now I don’t know, but I think it’s what you work for as a writer - to have your own voice to say things as clearly as you can in your own style.
The album was released on May 5th, so what’s next. Will you play regionally or nationally to support the album?
Well, I’ll play anywhere people want to hear me play. I have played Mountain Stage and MerleFest, which was certainly an honor, but we keep it pretty regional playing mostly the Charlotte area, Charleston, and Virginia, although we have gone into Ohio and Pennsylvania as well.
Your story songs have such imagery and are often serious, but ending on a lighter note, do you have a guilty pleasure song?
“Good Morning Starshine” by Oliver, which has something to do with LSD when I was younger, is hands down the winner on that one (laughing).
For more information visit his official website
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Purchase Run Skeleton Run HERE