Album Review

David Childers - Blessed In An Unusual Way

David Childers - Blessed In An Unusual Way

There's a striking quality to the recent homegrown work of Mt. Holly, North Carolina, songwriter David Childers, a tangible ruggedness and restlessness, as if his songs are carved out of old railroad ties and the wood from recycled church pews. While Blessed In An Unusual Way features biblical characters ("The Pharaoh's Daughter") and the prayer-like "Precious Lord", Childers sees it as less of a gospel record and more of a spiritual one. Sure enough, Childers seems to follow wherever his spirit leads, be it to the melodica-and-yelp-backed battleground monologue "Meadows Of Blood" or to the traditionally structured, acoustic-guitar-based "The Devil Loves To Make My Baby Cry", which disarms with its directness. He's not quite as out there as Johnny Dowd, but then again, he's not nearly as grounded as, say, Dave Alvin or Tom Russell, two other valid kindred spirit candidates. Childers also welcomes other voices and pens into the fold, as reflected by the album's bookends: a faith-filled but misdirected phone message, and a found-sound sermon snippet that gives the album its title. In between, he stops to cover artists unparalleled (Bob Dylan and Hank Williams, the latter via a sitar-visited version of "I Heard That Lonesome Whistle") and unexpected (UK troubadour Martin Stephenson and Bob Merrill, the writer of "How Much Is That Doggie in the Window").