by Emerald Butler
He’s been called the most requested artist on RFD-TV,
and he gained that title with his tribute to classic country music and the legendary Hank Williams. David Church performs a collection of material from Hank songs to his own originals: on TV and in person. He’s recorded two albums, and he shares the music from both as he tours and performs across the country with his wife Teri Lisa.
In the ‘90s he toured with a Bluegrass group called Open Highway.
“Bluegrass is very important in my life,” David shared. “I love the music and have the utmost respect for the entertainers and pioneers of the music.” However, as time went by, David found that his country roots bled through. “My sound, even in bluegrass, was leaning more into what I call Country Grass sound…as more people heard it they really wanted more of the country thing,” David shared.
David grew up on Classic Country and Bluegrass music.
In the ‘90s he toured with a Bluegrass group called Open Highway. “Bluegrass is very important in my life,” David shared. “I love the music and have the utmost respect for the entertainers and pioneers of the music.” However, as time went by, David found that his country roots bled through. “My sound, even in bluegrass, was leaning more into what I call Country Grass sound…as more people heard it they really wanted more of the country thing,” David shared.
David Church put together his first Hank Williams tribute show in 2002.
“I don’t call it impersonations,” he stated. “I know I’m not Hank and never will be. We just try to recapture his music and his vocal style.”
Though in the beginning, David said that he was hesitant to do so. “I never set out to do that. I knew a lot of other tribute artists that had a hard time getting their own music out there after they started doing it. Every time we would do a show out somewhere people would request one of Hanks songs, and it created a buzz that people really wanted to hear.”
Shortly after his first tribute show, CMT found out about this buzz. In 2003, there was a commemoration for Hank Williams’ passing in Montgomery, Alabama, and David was invited to do a show for the event. David got to meet a lot of Hank’s family and friends that were still living. He also got to meet steel guitar legend and member of Hank’s band The Drifting Cowboys, Don Helms, who became a good friend of David’s. In March of 2003, they went into the studio and recorded the tribute album “A Legend Froze in Time”.
The other boost in David’s career came with the success he had on RFD-TV.
It all began with a show that was recorded in a little theater called the Midwest Country music theater in Sandstone, Minnesota. The theater was beginning a new relationship with RFD-TV, a station that David says was primarily focusing on farming, cows, and other agricultural content. “When the Midwest Country show got on there it just went wild,” David informed. “At one time, just a few years ago, the music was about 57% of RFD’s viewership.” David Church still records shows for RFD-TV, but he also shares his music around the country with live performances.
“I’m proud of being able to be a little part of keeping the tradition alive.”
He still carries on this tradition and has done so lately while on tour. Over the past couple of months, David has been on tour in the south. He also shared that he is considering a new recording project soon that might include some Bluegrass. Hank Williams Jr. sang about family tradition. Though that song may be more about the addictions and struggles of the singer and his father, David Church finds the best in the music and the entertainers, so no matter what exact genre or tribute, you won’t go wrong with going to Church.
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