Country musician Church performs at Englert


Country musician David Church grew up listening to the classics — Ernest Tubb, Jimmie Rodgers, Lester Flatt. But of all the country and bluegrass artists he heard as a child, one singer left an indelible impression and helped Church land gigs on Country Music Television and across North America and Europe — Hank Williams.

“It was his voice, his style of music, and his writing abilities [I enjoyed],” Church said. “You listen close to a song such as ‘I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,’ and it’s like poetry, the way the words were written.”

He will bring his internationally acclaimed Williams covers, along with some original tunes, to Iowa City. The singer will perform at 7 p.m. today at the Englert Theatre, 221 E. Washington St. Admission ranges from $20 to $25.

The Lancaster, Ohio, native grew up with traditional country records as well as live music — his father was a banjo player for years, and Church began playing guitar when he was around 8.

Skillful performances of Williams’ songs has brought Church many opportunities — most notably an invitation from CMT to perform at a concert in Alabama commemorating the 50th anniversary of Williams’ passing. There, Church met Don Helms, Williams’ original steel-guitar player.

“It was quite an honor for me just to sit and talk with him,” Church said.

The singer also met several members of Williams’ family, and he said he enjoyed hearing their stories and learning more about Williams.

Church, an independent artist, has made a name for himself as a country musician, but he first toured in the bluegrass band Open Highway in 1990. He met Terri Lisa, also a country singer, while touring in the ’90s. The two became bandmates in 1998 and married in 2000, the same year Church released his first country CD.

Known for their faithful covers — Terri Church has taken a Patsy Cline tribute on tour — the Churches also collaborate on original songs and accompany one another on the road.

“We are together 99 percent of the time,” she said. “The more we’re together, we get along better — the only thing we ever argue about is business.”

And though David Church creates and performs new songs, they end up sounding closer to Williams’ style of country rather than modern radio, he said.

“I guess it’s just a natural thing for me,” he said.

Englert marketing associate Nathan Gould said fans are excited to see David Church’s unique live performance.

“Church is not your average mainstream country artist,” Gould said. “He has won over an international fan base with his genuine talent and authenticity.”

The distinction between contemporary country and older country, which keeps Church from sounding like popular country music, is important for the singer.

“Years ago it was ‘three chords and the truth,’ ” he said, quoting songwriter Harlan Howard’s definition of a country song.

Now, Church said, country has traded the fiddles for electric guitars and often uses faster tempos.

“We’re certainly going to be taking [the audience] back to the Hank Williams period with his music,” Church said. “And hopefully let them relive some of the sounds that they heard back then.”

Facebook Comments