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Overmountain Men bring Americana grooves to Boone

By Derek Halsey (reporter@mountaintimes.com)



Article Published: Jan. 15, 2014 | Modified: Jan. 19, 2014
Overmountain Men bring Americana grooves to Boone

The Overmountain Men, featuring David Childers, center, will perform in Boone Jan. 18.

Photo submitted



David Childers was once the darling of the music critics in America.

Childers and his band, the Modern Don Juans, produced a string of albums that received much praise, including recordings, such as “Jailhouse Religion,” “Hard Time County” and more. In a lot of ways, Childers and crew were Americana before Americana was cool.

But the economics of fronting a touring band don’t always follow the same trajectory as the critical praise, and, eventually, Childers concentrated more on his work as a lawyer for progressive causes. Then, somewhere around 2006 or so, Childers, who is also a poet and artist, fell in with a group of musicians that would go on to form the Overmountain Men.

As the Overmountain Men moved forward, the group, named after the Appalachian soldiers and frontiersmen who fought at the often overlooked yet crucial Battle of Kings Mountain during the Revolutionary War, consisted of Childers and his brother, Robert, Randy Saxon, Scott Daily and Bob Crawford, bassist for The Avett Brothers.

The band’s latest album is called “The Next Big Thing.” The Overmountain Men will be playing songs from that project and more when performing at Boone Saloon this Saturday, Jan 18.

Despite some early acclaim for his songs, Childers never ventured far from his Mt. Holly home, staying away from New York City, Nashville and other music business hubs.

“I don’t really know anything about the music business,” Childers said. “I don’t consider myself a part of it. I mean, I’m on a small label, Ramseur Records, with the Overmountain Men, but I don’t really have any contact with the ‘music business.’ I saw enough of Nashville. I don’t need Nashville. I’ve got Charlotte and Mt. Holly. North Carolina is a great place for me to be.

“And the music I make is not suited to Nashville. I tried shopping some songs there, but I was always considered too leftwing, whatever the (heck) that means. I’m a left-winger, I’ll say that, so maybe that bleeds over into my work. I care about working people and poor people and forgotten people. That’s how I’ve made a living for the last several years, by representing those people. That’s the only kind of legal work I do. But I’m getting ready to wind that down and focus on playing music and hope that people still want to hear it.

“I’m just into nurturing my own garden here, my own community that I live in. Nashville is just another big ol’ grimy town to me.”

At this time, Crawford is busy doing all things Avett Brothers, so the when the Overmountain Men come to Boone Saloon, the band will consist of Childers on guitar and vocals, Robert Childers on drums, Saxon on guitar and banjo, Dale Shoemaker on bass and Geoff White on fiddle.

“I find Boone to be a cool place, and we’ve had good audiences to show up there,” Childers said. “They seem open, and they want to hear the stuff we’re playing. When we’re in that setting, doing the bar thing, we’re a rock and roll band mostly. You’re not going to hear a lot of soft ballads. You’ll hear a few quieter songs, but basically we just like to rock it. That’s what is fun to us. I like to get a good workout and make a real good sweat and jump around and scream a lot and just generate a lot of energy. The records are different. But with a live show, you go into a bar, and they don’t know who we are, and I think people just want to have a good time. That’s the kind of stuff I always like to hear.”

Folks can see and hear for themselves Jan. 18. The show starts at 10 p.m., and tickets cost $5. Boone Saloon is located at 489 W. King St. in downtown Boone. For more information, visit http://www.overmountainmen.com.

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