Alt-country, With Accessories

Jailhouse Religion (Little King Records)
David Childers and the Modern Don Juans

By Kory Wilcoxson

You can almost smell the beer and feel the peanut shells underfoot as you zoom through "Jailhouse Religion," the ten-gallon rocker from Carolina native Childers and his whirlwind of a backing band. To call their roadhouse style alt-country does a disservice to the depth and earnestness of Childers' music.

At its core, Jailhouse Religion is a rock 'n' roll album, with country, folk and bluegrass accessories. Childers can swing from the front-porch pickin' on "Chains of Sadness" to the hard edge of "The General Belgrano" without spilling a drop of beer and the Don Juans keep pace the whole way.

Childers' strength is in his storytelling, which is on par with the likes of Joe Ely and Steve Earle. Songs like "George Wallace" (which gives new meaning to the term "honky-tonk") and "Roadside Parable" relate human stories with a boot-scooting soundtrack. It only takes a few listeners to be converted to Childers' blue-collar cool. Preach it, brotha!

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