The Martha Bassett Show welcomes Jeff Little and David Childers to the show! This old-time inspired radio show is recorded live at the Reeves Theater in Elkin, NC and is broadcast on 88.5 WFDD, live streamed to social media, and presented as a podcast. It features the music of national and regional artists along with the music of Martha Bassett.
JEFF LITTLE – Jeff Little is an award winning musician from the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. With few exceptions, the piano does not play a prominent part in Appalachian or Americana music, and is rarely the lead instrument. But Jeff Little is an exception – and a remarkable one. Jeff has not only been recognized as a critically acclaimed musician but also a true innovator in acoustic music.
Jeff stays busy traveling the country performing concerts with an energy and dedication to his music that is evident at every show. Performances include The Smithsonian Institution, The National Folk Festival, American Piano Masters, Merlefest, and many festivals, performing arts centers and music venues throughout the US. Jeff has been featured on National Public Radio and PBS many times and has also taken his music around the world for the US Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs performing in Sri Lanka, Bahrain, Oman, Pakistan, France and Tanzania. In 2014 Jeff was inducted into the Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame. In addition, Jeff is a full time faculty member and Artist in Residence for the Popular Music Program at Catawba College in Salisbury, NC.
DAVID CHILDERS – Singer-songwriter David Childers is the proverbial study in contradictions. A resident of Mount Holly, North Carolina, he’s a former high-school football player with the aw-shucks demeanor of a good ol’ Southern boy. But he’s also a well-read poet and painter who cites Chaucer and Kerouac as influences, fell in love with folk as a teen, listens to jazz and opera, and fed his family by practicing law before turning in his license to concentrate on his creative passions.
The legal profession’s loss is certainly the music world’s gain. Childers’ new album, Run Skeleton Run, released in 2017 on Ramseur Records, is filled with the kinds of songs that have made him a favorite of fans and fellow artists including neighbors the Avett Brothers. Scott Avett contributes to four tracks, and Avetts bassist Bob Crawford co-executive-produced the effort with label head Dolph Ramseur. (Crawford and Childers, both history buffs, have recorded and performed together in the Overmountain Men).
Childers has always regarded his place in the musical pantheon as that of an outsider, though not deservedly so. As those involved with this album indicate, he’s well-regarded among tastemakers. Evidence includes playing the syndicated World Café and Mountain Stage radio shows (he’s done the latter twice), as well as Merlefest’s mainstage. He’s also toured in Europe, and hopes to again. But he credits the support of Crawford and Ramseur with helping him sustain his musical career — which began in college, though he didn’t start recording until the ’90s.
Childers’ father had given him a banjo when he was 14, but he still had his “jock mentality” back then and didn’t do much with it. That changed when he picked up a guitar at 18.
“I used to be afraid of growing old, but now I wouldn’t trade where I am for all the lean fury of my youth,” Childers insists, saying he’s happier now than he’s ever been. Especially now that he can concentrate on making music and painting; he and Robert did the album cover, a fine example of his primitive/outsider style.
He’s also considering adding memoirs to his publishing credits, which include two books of poetry. And there’s gardening, and dogs and cats, to tend. Yep, life’s pretty good for the man Crawford likes to call “the sage of Mount Holly.”
Crawford has also called Childers “a great friend, a great thinker and a great man … a true North Carolina treasure.”
But let’s take out “North Carolina,” because Childers is the kind of treasure who can spread joy wherever people love listening to great songs. In other words, just about anywhere. Or everywhere.