Get ready for some folktronica on Oct. 24 when Crowder performs at Greenwell Springs Baptsit Church.
David Crowder, formerly the front man for the David Crowder Band, created the word folktronica to describe his CD and tour “Neon Steeple.”
It’s “a blend of folk and electronic music. ... banjo and the computer. The porch meets the computer,” he said.
Crowder said, “There are two less words in my name now. ... This is a solo endeavor. The David Crowder Band was definitely a BAND. We just were terrible at naming ourselves.”
As a solo act, he kept “the only thing my parents gave me”: his name.
Crowder is backed by a new band, which has “very eclectic instrumentation. A lot of Appalachian folk type instrument with banjos, fiddle, mandolin, upright bass,” he said, but at the same time, “keeping very current sounds that are computer electronic based.”
He said, “The (electronic dance music) movement has become the biggest genre on the planet … It’s impossible to ignore, and it pushes all my buttons. At the same time, growing up in the South, in East Texas, Southern music has always been a part of my life.”
So with the album, “Now it’s like my insides are outside finally. ... It is definitely the most personal thing I’ve been a part of creating.”
Crowder said the lyrics are “group sing on the porch. ... The poetry form, the vocabulary chosen is very Americana-Southern gospel.”
As for the show, “You’re going to get every track that’s on the record, plus some surprise cover songs,” he said. “We have built a porch, a life-sized porch. (It’s) like you’re coming out of Cracker Barrel or something. ...
“Of course, when the beat drops, you’ve got lasers flying out the screen door and the windows. Hillbilly dance party is what we are going for.”
He added, “I can’t remember being this wound up about a tour or a record. Granted it makes sense ’cause it’s all my fault this go around.”
Not the plan
A music career wasn’t the plan for David Crowder.
“None of this was intended, but I am sure happy about how things turned out,” he said.
Crowder grew up in Texarkana, Texas, and went to college at Baylor, in Waco, Texas. He intended to finish school and return home to take over his dad’s insurance agency, but while at college, “I could just study whatever I wanted to. I loved music and thought what better way to spend your college years than just playing music.”
That plan changed Crowder’s junior year. A new church hoped to reach unchurched college students. Baylor had found that more than half of its students didn’t attend church, “which is pretty nuts” given it is a Christian school in South, in the Bible Belt, Crowder said.
He added that he was one of those students. “I was just like a lot of the other students, trying to figure out what of what I had been brought up in is mine, what is my parents, what am I going to hold onto for life.”
This new church was more open, “than some of the more dogmatic approach I had experienced.”
He became the church music director and in a few years began “writing songs that gave a more colloquial expression to our experience of God together as this little community. These songs sort of leaked out. ... These students would take these songs home over the summer or Christmas breaks. Before we knew it, we were getting phone calls to come play this thing or that thing. ... and before long, I’m calling home, saying ‘Dad, it looks like I’m going to be awhile.’ And here we are about 15 years later,” Crowder said.
About 3 1/2 years ago, Crowder moved to Atlanta, where he has friends who have been a part of his music life “for as far back as I can remember.”
Also, “My accent doesn’t raise any eyebrows out here. It’s pretty thick this way, too,” he said.
The major difference for Crowder is being a part of Passion City Church, started by Louie Giglio, who ran a student ministry at Baylor, and former Texan Chris Tomlin, two of the friends mentioned earlier.
After being on a church staff for 16 years, Crowder said, it is wonderful to sit in the pew and be a part of the community.
That “has been really influential in how I approached this new record. I think being the one led has reoriented the way I’ve thought about the composition process.”
Worship leaders at Passion include Kristian Stanfill, who played in Baton Rouge on Friday; Nathan and Christy Nockels, formerly of the group Watermark; Brett Younker; and even Matt Redman a few weeks ago.
“It’s just unbelievable the musicianship and writing. The songs coming from this place are going around the world and back. To have them as your music director does not make (Sunday morning) difficult.”