The Deal: A mellower side of former Modern Don Juan hell-bent front man David Childers -- his new group OverMountain Men celebrates the Ramseur Records release of its debut, Glorious Day, on Jan. 26.
The Good: Overmountain Men is an introspective side of Childers the Don Juans never capitalized on. The group is a collaboration between David Childers and the Avetts bassist Bob Crawford, with Modern Don Juan's guitarist Randy Saxon and Childers' son Robert on drums. Childers writes the lyrics and Crawford does the music, aided by Saxon and Robert Childers. The result sounds like Van Morrison musing on Charles Bukowski's poetry set to Warren Zevon's melodies. Childers' writing gets under your skin. Childers says he's undergone a spiritual reawakening, but doesn't get preachy 'bout it. When he does acknowledge his higher power as he does on the title cut, it's in the form of a low-key thank you note: "Temptation has beckoned me astray from the true and righteous way/and hunger has brought me down to my knees/but I stood up to walk home to thee." But this is not a religious album. It's about love and loss and hope and courage, beautifully written and illustrated.
The Bad: That Childers and company will only perform live about once a month. This stuff needs to be heard by a large audience.
The Verdict: With this offering, Childers steps into the big arena. With the Ramseur label and the Avett connection, this one may finally put Childers where he deserves to be musically. Pick this one up and keep it with you.