I recently had the opportunity to talk to David Childers, the acclaimed singer-songwriter who now fronts Overmountain Men, about his favorite spots in the Charlotte area to listen to music. Childers’ songwriting is especially admired by other musicians. So much so that a couple years back when Childers decided he’d had enough of the music business, Bob Crawford of The Avett Brothers convinced him to start a new project with him. Their collaboration led to the formation of Overmountain Men. They don’t tour too extensively. Part of the deal was that it had to stay fun. So when you have the chance to hear them play, you ought to do it. I asked him for his “top five” places in the Charlotte area to listen to music. A note: one of them is a bit out of the area, in Lexington, but he promises it’s worth the drive, and I believe him.
The Thirsty Beaver Saloon: Small, crowded honky-tonk with HeeHaw reruns on all the TVs. Maybe one with a ball game. Music is the focus. No stage. a carved out space on the floor. The audience is right up on the band. They play for tips. No cover, but those who don’t tip don’t feel too welcome after a while. Like I said, the music is important.
1225 Central Avenue
Snug Harbor. Cover charges are very reasonable in this multi-genre music club. Alt-country; Renelvis the Filipino Elvis guy; punk rock; transvestite floor-shows and lip syncing. There are no boundaries.
1228 Gordon Street
Comet Grill: Good food and drinks. Small and casual. Bands are crammed into a corner but they fight their way into consciousness. Highly recommend: Friday nights with Lenny Federal and Tuesdays with Red Rocking Chair (traditional and bluegrass.)
2224 Park Road
The Evening Muse: Intimate and small. Focus is on the songs. You have to be quiet, but for a small cover you can hear an impressive line up of troubadours and songwriters.
3227 North Davidson Street
High Rock Outfitters: Lexington is about an hour north on I-85. Yes, this place sells kayaks and kayaking equipment, but it also sells art, and has a bar with fine wines, and beer, as well as coffee. The music runs a wide range but it is all good. It’s worth the short drive.
13 South Main Street, Lexington, North Carolina 27292